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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of July 29, 2014

Title 5: Administrative Personnel


PART 432—PERFORMANCE BASED REDUCTION IN GRADE AND REMOVAL ACTIONS


Contents
§432.101   Statutory authority.
§432.102   Coverage.
§432.103   Definitions.
§432.104   Addressing unacceptable performance.
§432.105   Proposing and taking action based on unacceptable performance.
§432.106   Appeal and grievance rights.
§432.107   Agency records.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 4303, 4305.

Source: 54 FR 26179, June 21, 1989, unless otherwise noted.

§432.101   Statutory authority.

This part applies to reduction in grade and removal of employees covered by the provisions of this part based solely on performance at the unacceptable level. 5 U.S.C. 4305 authorizes the Office of Personnel Management to prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of title 5, chapter 43, United States Code, including 5 U.S.C. 4303, which covers agency actions to reduce in grade or remove employees for unacceptable performance. (The provisions of 5 U.S.C. 7501 et seq., may also be used to reduce in grade or remove employees. See part 752 of this chapter.)

[58 FR 65533, Dec. 15, 1993]

§432.102   Coverage.

(a) Actions covered. This part covers reduction in grade and removal of employees based on unacceptable performance.

(b) Actions excluded. This part does not apply to:

(1) The reduction in grade of a supervisor or manager who has not completed the probationary period under 5 U.S.C. 3321(a)(2) if such a reduction is based on supervisory or managerial performance and the reduction is to the grade held immediately before becoming a supervisor or manager in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 3321(b);

(2) The reduction in grade or removal of an employee in the competitive service who is serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment;

(3) The reduction in grade or removal of an employee in the competitive service serving in an appointment that requires no probationary or trial period who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position under other than a temporary appointment limited to 1 year or less;

(4) The reduction in grade or removal of an employee in the excepted service who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar positions;

(5) An action imposed by the Merit Systems Protection Board under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 1206;

(6) An action taken under 5 U.S.C. 7521 against an administrative law judge;

(7) An action taken under 5 U.S.C. 7532 in the interest of national security;

(8) An action taken under a provision of statute, other than one codified in title 5 of the U.S. Code, which excepts the action from the provisions of title 5 of the U.S. Code;

(9) A removal from the Senior Executive Service to a civil service position outside the Senior Executive Service under part 359 of this chapter;

(10) A reduction-in-force governed by part 351 of this chapter;

(11) A voluntary action by the employee;

(12) A performance-based action taken under part 752 of this chapter;

(13) An action that terminates a temporary or term promotion and returns the employee to the position from which temporarily promoted, or to a different position of equivalent grade and pay if the agency informed the employee that it was to be of limited duration;

(14) A termination in accordance with terms specified as conditions of employment at the time the appointment was made; and

(15) An involuntary retirement because of disability under part 831 of this chapter.

(c) Agencies covered. This part applies to:

(1) The executive departments listed at 5 U.S.C. 101;

(2) The military departments listed at 5 U.S.C. 102;

(3) Independent establishments in the executive branch as described at 5 U.S.C. 104, except for a Government corporation; and

(4) The Government Printing Office.

(d) Agencies excluded. This part does not apply to:

(1) A Government corporation;

(2) The Central Intelligence Agency;

(3) The Defense Intelligence Agency;

(4) The National Security Agency;

(5) Any executive agency or unit thereof which is designated by the President and the principal function of which is the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities;

(6) The General Accounting Office;

(7) The U.S. Postal Service; and

(8) The Postal Rate Commission.

(e) Employees covered. This part applies to individuals employed in or under a covered agency as specified at §432.102(c) except as listed in §432.102(f).

(f) Employees excluded. This part does not apply to:

(1) An employee in the competitive service who is serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment;

(2) An employee in the competitive service serving in an appointment that requires no probationary or trial period, who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar positions under other than a temporary appointment limited to 1 year or less;

(3) An employee in the excepted service who has not completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar positions;

(4) An employee outside the United States who is paid in accordance with local native prevailing wage rates for the area in which employed;

(5) An individual in the Foreign Service of the United States;

(6) An employee who holds a position with the Veterans Health Administration which has been excluded from the competitive service by or under a provision of title 38, United States Code, unless such employee was appointed to such a position under section 7401(3) of title 38;

(7) An administrative law judge appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105;

(8) An individual in the Senior Executive Service;

(9) An individual appointed by the President;

(10) An employee occupying a position in Schedule C as authorized under part 213 of this chapter;

(11) A reemployed annuitant;

(12) A technician in the National Guard described in 5 U.S.C. 8337(h)(1), employed under section 709(b) of title 32;

(13) An individual occupying a position in the excepted service for which employment is not reasonably expected to exceed 120 calendar days in a consecutive 12 month period; and

(14) A manager or supervisor returned to his or her previously held grade pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3321 (a)(2) and (b).

[54 FR 26179, June 21, 1989, as amended at 57 FR 10125, Mar. 24, 1992; 57 FR 20042, May 11, 1992; 58 FR 13192, Mar. 10, 1993; 58 FR 65533, Dec. 15, 1993]

§432.103   Definitions.

For the purpose of this part—

(a) Acceptable performance means performance that meets an employee's performance requirement(s) or standard(s) at a level of performance above “unacceptable” in the critical element(s) at issue.

(b) Critical element means a work assignment or responsibility of such importance that unacceptable performance on the element would result in a determination that an employee's overall performance is unacceptable.

(c) Current continuous employment means a period of employment or service immediately preceding an action under this part in the same or similar positions without a break in Federal civilian employment of a workday.

(d) Opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance means a reasonable chance for the employee whose performance has been determined to be unacceptable in one or more critical elements to demonstrate acceptable performance in the critical element(s) at issue.

(e) Reduction in grade means the involuntary assignment of an employee to a position at a lower classification or job grading level.

(f) Removal means the involuntary separation of an employee from employment with an agency.

(g) Similar positions mean positions in which the duties performed are similar in nature and character and require substantially the same or similar qualifications, so that the imcumbents could be interchanged without significant training or undue interruption to the work.

(h) Unacceptable performance means performance of an employee that fails to meet established performance standards in one or more critical elements of such employee's position.

[54 FR 26179, June 21, 1989, as amended at 54 FR 49076, Nov. 29, 1989; 55 FR 25950, June 26, 1990; 57 FR 23045, June 1, 1992; 57 FR 60717, Dec. 22, 1992; 58 FR 65534, Dec. 15, 1993; 60 FR 43946, Aug. 23, 1995]

§432.104   Addressing unacceptable performance.

At any time during the performance appraisal cycle that an employee's performance is determined to be unacceptable in one or more critical elements, the agency shall notify the employee of the critical element(s) for which performance is unacceptable and inform the employee of the performance requirement(s) or standard(s) that must be attained in order to demonstrate acceptable performance in his or her position. The agency should also inform the employee that unless his or her performance in the critical element(s) improves to and is sustained at an acceptable level, the employee may be reduced in grade or removed. For each critical element in which the employee's performance is unacceptable, the agency shall afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance, commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the employee's position. As part of the employee's opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance, the agency shall offer assistance to the employee in improving unacceptable performance.

[55 FR 25950, June 26, 1990, as amended at 58 FR 65534, Dec. 15, 1993]

§432.105   Proposing and taking action based on unacceptable performance.

(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 1 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 extention 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 handicapping condition;

(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. 1208(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 Chief, Family Programs and Employee Relations Division, Office of Labor Relations and Workforce Performance, Personnel Systems and Oversight Group, 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.

[54 FR 26179, June 21, 1989. Redesignated and amended at 54 FR 49076, Nov. 29, 1989. Redesignated and amended at 58 FR 65534, Dec. 15, 1993]

§432.106   Appeal and grievance rights.

(a) Appeal rights. An employee covered under §432.102(e) who has been removed or reduced in grade under this part may appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board if the employee is:

(1) In the competitive service and has completed a probationary or trial period;

(2) In the competitive service serving in an appointment which is not subject to a probationary or trial period, and has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position(s) under other than a temporary appointment limited to 1 year or less;

(3) A preference eligible in the excepted service who has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position(s); or

(4) A nonpreference eligible in the excepted service who is covered by subparts C and D of part 752 of this chapter.

(b) Grievance rights. (1) A bargaining unit employee covered under §432.102(e) who has been removed or reduced in grade under this part may file a grievance under an applicable negotiated grievance procedure if the removal or reduction in grade action falls within its coverage (i.g., is not excluded by the parties to the collective bargaining agreement) and the employee is:

(i) In the competitive service and has completed a probationary or trial period.

(ii) In the competitive service, serving in an appointment which is not subject to a probationary or trial period, and has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position(s) under other than a temporary appointment limited to 1 year or less;

(iii) A preference eligible in the excepted service who has completed 1 year of current continuous employment in the same or similar position(s); or

(iv) A nonpreference eligible in the excepted service who is covered by subparts C and D of part 752 of the chapter.

(2) 5 U.S.C. 7114(a)(5) and 7121(b)(3), and the terms of an applicable collective bargaining agreement govern representation for employees in an exclusive bargaining unit who grieve a matter under this section through the negotiated grievance process.

(c) Election of forum. As provided at 5 U.S.C. 7121(e)(1), a bargaining unit employee who by law may file an appeal or a grievance, and who has exercised his or her option to appeal an action taken under this part to the Merit Systems Protection Board, may not also file a grievance on the matter under a negotiated grievance procedure. Likewise, a bargaining unit employee who has exercised his or her option to grieve an action taken under this part may not also file an appeal on the matter with the Merit Systems Protection Board.

[54 FR 26179, June 21, 1989. Redesignated at 54 FR 49076, Nov. 29, 1989; 57 FR 20043, May 11, 1992; 58 FR 13192, Mar. 10, 1993. Redesignated at 58 FR 65534, Dec. 15, 1993]

§432.107   Agency records.

(a) When the action is effected. The agency shall preserve all relevant documentation concerning a reduction in grade or removal which is based on unacceptable performance and make it available for review by the affected employee or his or her representative. At a minimum, the agency's records shall consist of a copy of the notice of proposed action, the answer of the employee when it is in writing, a summary thereof when the employee makes an oral reply, the written notice of decision and the reasons therefor, and any supporting material including documentation regarding the opportunity afforded the employee to demonstrate acceptable performance.

(b) When the action is not affected. As provided at 5 U.S.C. 4303(d), if, because of performance improvement by the employee during the notice period, the employee is not reduced in grade or removed, and the employee's performance continues to be acceptable for 1 year from the date of the advanced written notice provided in accordance with §432.105(a)(4)(i), any entry or other notation of the unacceptable performance for which the action was proposed shall be removed from any agency record relating to the employee.

[55 FR 25950, June 26, 1990, as amended at 58 FR 65534, Dec. 15, 1993]



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