U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 26, 2023
(a) Proposing action based on unacceptable performance.
(1) Once an employee has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance pursuant to § 432.104, an agency may propose a reduction-in-grade or removal action if the employee's performance during or following the opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance is unacceptable in one or more of the critical elements for which the employee was afforded an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance.
(2) If an employee has performed acceptably for 1 year from the beginning of an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance (in the critical element(s) for which the employee was afforded an opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance), and the employee's performance again becomes unacceptable, the agency shall afford the employee an additional opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance before determining whether to propose a reduction in grade or removal under this part.
(3) A proposed action may be based on instances of unacceptable performance which occur within a 1 year period ending on the date of the notice of proposed action.
(4) An employee whose reduction in grade or removal is proposed under this part is entitled to:
(i) Advance notice. (A) The agency shall afford the employee a 30 day advance notice of the proposed action that identifies both the specific instances of unacceptable performance by the employee on which the proposed action is based and the critical element(s) of the employee's position involved in each instance of unacceptable performance.
(B) An agency may extend this advance notice period for a period not to exceed 30 days under regulations prescribed by the head of the agency. An agency may extend this notice period further without prior OPM approval for the following reasons:
(1) To obtain and/or evaluate medical information when the employee has raised a medical issue in the answer to a proposed reduction in grade or removal;
(2) To arrange for the employee's travel to make an oral reply to an appropriate agency official, or the travel of an agency official to hear the employee's oral reply;
(3) To consider the employee's answer if an extension to the period for an answer has been granted (e.g., because of the employee's illness or incapacitation);
(4) To consider reasonable accommodation of a disability;
(5) If agency procedures so require, to consider positions to which the employee might be reassigned or reduced in grade; or
(6) To comply with a stay ordered by a member of the Merit Systems Protection Board under 5 U.S.C. 1214(b)(1)(A) or (B).
(C) If an agency believes that an extension of the advance notice period is necessary for another reason, it may request prior approval for such extension from the Manager, Employee Accountability, Accountability and Workforce Relations, Employee Services, Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20415.
(ii) Opportunity to answer. The agency shall afford the employee a reasonable time to answer the agency's notice of proposed action orally and in writing.
(iii) Representation. The agency shall allow the employee to be represented by an attorney or other representative. An agency may disallow as an employee's representative an individual whose activities as a representative would cause a conflict of interest or position or an employee whose release from his or her official position would give rise to unreasonable costs to the Government or whose priority work assignment precludes his or her release from official duties.
(iv) Consideration of medical conditions. The agency shall allow an employee who wishes to raise a medical condition which may have contributed to his or her unacceptable performance to furnish medical documentation (as defined in § 339.102 of this chapter of the condition for the agency's consideration. Whenever possible, the employee shall supply this documentation following the agency's notification of unacceptable performance under § 432.104. If the employee offers such documentation after the agency has proposed a reduction in grade or removal, he or she shall supply this information in accordance with § 432.105(a)(4)(ii). In considering documentation submitted in connection with the employee's claim of a medical condition, the agency may require or offer a medical examination in accordance with the criteria and procedures of part 339 of this chapter, and shall be aware of the affirmative obligations of 29 CFR 1613.704. If the employee who raises a medical condition has the requisite years of service under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System, the agency shall provide information concerning application for disability retirement. As provided at § 831.501(d) of this chapter, an employee's application for disability retirement shall not preclude or delay any other appropriate agency decision or personnel action.
(b) Final written decision. The agency shall make its final decision within 30 days after expiration of the advance notice period. Unless proposed by the head of the agency, such written decision shall be concurred in by an employee who is in a higher position than the person who proposed the action. In arriving at its decision, the agency shall consider any answer of the employee and/or his or her representative furnished in response to the agency's proposal. A decision to reduce in grade or remove an employee for unacceptable performance may be based only on those instances of unacceptable performance that occurred during the 1 year period ending on the date of issuance of the advance notice of proposed action under § 432.105(a)(4)(i). The agency shall issue written notice of its decision to the employee at or before the time the action will be effective. Such notice shall specify the instances of unacceptable performance by the employee on which the action is based and shall inform the employee of any applicable appeal and/or grievance rights.