6.752.2  Adverse Actions

6.752.2.1  (10-15-2010)
Overview

  1. This IRM states the policy of the IRS with respect to taking and processing adverse actions. Under regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) an adverse action, as defined below, may be taken against an employee only for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the Service.

  2. To the extent this IRM conflicts with the National Agreement (NA), the provisions of the NA shall prevail for bargaining unit (BU) employees.

6.752.2.2  (10-15-2010)
Coverage

  1. This IRM section covers adverse actions. Adverse actions are defined as:

    1. Furlough of thirty (30) calendar days or less;

    2. Reductions in grade;

    3. Reductions in pay;

    4. Reductions in grade and pay;

    5. Suspensions of more than fourteen (14) Calendar days;

    6. Indefinite suspensions; and

    7. Removals.

  2. Non-disciplinary actions and lesser disciplinary actions are covered in IRM 6.751.1.

  3. Suspensions of less than fifteen (15) calendar days are covered in IRM 6.752.1.

  4. The following topics are covered in 6.751.1 and should be used/referenced if management determines a suspension of fourteen (14) days or less is effected:

    • 6.751.1.3 Concept of Discipline

    • 6.751.1.4 Prohibition Against Discrimination

    • 6.751.1.5 Employee Representation

    • 6.751.1.6 Progressive Discipline

    • 6.751.1.7 Authority

    • 6.751.1.8 Human Capital Office (HCO) Responsibilities

    • 6.751.1.9 Responsibilities of Embedded Human Resources (HR) Staff

    • 6.751.1.10 Management Responsibilities

    • 6.751.1.11 Levels of Accountability

    • 6.751.1.12 Security of Personally Identifiable Information

6.752.2.3  (10-15-2010)
Authorities and References

  1. 5 CFR 752, Subparts C,D

  2. 5 USC § 7501– 7504

  3. IRM 6.751.1

  4. 29 CFR Part 1614

  5. 5 USC § 7114(a)(5) and 7121(b)(3)

6.752.2.4  (10-15-2010)
Definitions

  1. Administrative Leave - the placement of an employee in a non-duty status without charge to leave or loss of pay.

  2. Appellant – an individual who submits an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

  3. Bargaining unit (BU) employee – an employee included in a bargaining unit certified by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

  4. Complainant – an individual who files a complaint typically through the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process.

  5. Current continuous appointment – a period of employment or service immediately preceding an adverse action without a break in Federal civilian employment of a workday.

  6. Day – a calendar day.

  7. Deciding Official – the management official designated to make the final decision in connection with a proposed adverse action.

  8. Discipline – measures intended to correct employee misconduct that adversely affect the efficiency of the Service and to encourage employee conduct in compliance with the standards of conduct, policies, goals, work procedures, and office practices of the IRS and the Federal Service.

  9. Employee – an individual in the competitive service who is not serving a probationary or trial period under an initial appointment, or who has completed one (1) year of current continuous employment under other than a temporary appointment limited to one (1) year or less.

  10. Indefinite Suspension- [5 CFR 752.402(e)] the placing of an employee in a temporary status without duties and pay pending investigator inquiry or further Agency action.

  11. Grievant – an individual who files a grievance through the internal grievance process.

  12. Last Rights – a meeting between management and an employee during which time the employee is advised of management’s decision to propose the employee’s removal (or reduction in grade). The employee has the option to receive the letter proposing the action or voluntarily choose another option such as resign in lieu of removal or request a change to a lower-graded position in lieu of a downgrade.

  13. Nexus – a reasonable connection or factual relationship between the reasons for the action taken and the efficiency of the Service. Nexus is presumed if the misconduct occurs while on duty or on government premises but must be established if the misconduct occurs while the employee is not on duty or on government premises.

  14. Notice Period – the period of time that begins the day after the date an employee receives a written proposal of an action based on misconduct and which ends on the effective date of the action, if effected.

  15. Offense – a cause of action based on an employee’s delinquency or misconduct.

  16. Oral Reply Officer – agency designated official with authority to either recommend or propose an adverse action.

  17. Pay – the rate of basic pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position held by an employee.

  18. Preponderance of the Evidence – degree of relevant evidence that a reasonable person, considering the record as a whole, would accept as sufficient to find that a contested fact is more likely to be true than untrue. This is the standard of proof the Agency must meet when taking an adverse action against an employee.

  19. Prior Offense – a prior cause of action for which a disciplinary penalty has been imposed and which is still a matter of record.

  20. Progressive Discipline – imposition of the least serious disciplinary or adverse action applicable to correct the issue or misconduct with penalties imposed at an escalating level for subsequent offenses.(See IRM 6.751.1.6)

  21. Proposing Official – management official who has the delegated authority to issue a notice of proposed adverse action. (See IRM 1.2.2.45.6)

  22. Reduction in Grade – the involuntary assignment of an employee to a position at a lower classification level under a position classification system.

  23. Reduction in Pay – an involuntary reduction in the rate of basic pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position held by the employee. Reduction in pay does not include the involuntary loss of any differentials such as standby pay, night work, overtime, hazardous duty, or holiday pay.

  24. Reduction in Grade and/or Pay – an involuntary assignment of an employee to a position at a lower classification level under a position classification system or an involuntary reduction in the rate of basic pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position held by the employee. Reductions in grade or rate of pay of an employee may be for either disciplinary (conduct) or non-disciplinary matters. This would include correction of an erroneous personnel action. An example of a non-disciplinary reduction in grade or pay is reassignment of a wage grade employee to another location having a lower wage schedule for each wage level. An example of a correction to an erroneous personnel action is to correct the erroneous placement of an employee by promotion or appointment into a position to which the employee is ineligible for promotion or appointment.

  25. Removal – an involuntary separation based on the decision of a Service official exercising delegated authority which terminates the employer-employee relationship. Such action may be based on disciplinary (misconduct) or non disciplinary (inability to perform one’s job due to medical conditions) reasons.

  26. Suspension – placing an employee, for conduct reasons, in a temporary status without duties or pay

6.752.2.5  (12-04-2008)
Cause of Action

  1. An adverse action may only be affected against an employee"for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the Service."

6.752.2.6  (10-15-2010)
Burden of Proof

  1. When taking an adverse action against an employee the Agency must prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that the employee engaged in the misconduct described in the notice. Preponderance of evidence is: "the degree of relevant evidence that a reasonable person, considering the record as a whole, would accept as sufficient to find that a contested fact is more likely to be true than untrue." This definition can be found in 5 CFR 1201.56. http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2009/janqtr/5cfr1201.56.htm This is the standard of proof the Agency must meet when taking an adverse action against an employee.

  2. For the action to be sustained, the Agency must prove that the efficiency of the Service was or could have been adversely impacted by the misconduct, and that the penalty was within the bounds of reasonableness.

6.752.2.7  (10-15-2010)
Erroneous Personnel Actions

  1. Some personnel actions must be voided because they never should have occurred. In those cases, the corrective action may be non-disciplinary, but is adverse to the employee.

  2. The procedures for correcting an erroneous personnel action are supplemented in Agency Wide Support Service's (AWSS') Policy Number 293-8, Cancellation/Correction of Personnel Actions. http://awss.web.irs.gov/ess/pps/archive/sop-uog/293-8_081706.pdf

  3. If the employee's personnel action was cancelled after such action was effected because the Employment Office, or Office of Personnel Management (OPM) later determined the employee did not meet the qualification requirements for promotion, or that the employee had been improperly hired, the corrective action may entitle the employee to due process rights found in 5 USC 7513 and 5 CFR Part 752. In the past, Employment Offices or Payroll Centers have cancelled an action and then explained the situation to the employee. The employee was then returned to the grade/step they were promoted from, or they were separated from the Service without benefit of any due process rights. This may not be the appropriate course of action to take under the circumstances.

  4. If the employee is serving a probationary period, with less than one year of current continuous service, then the employee may not be entitled to due process procedures (i.e., proposal and decision notice) found in 5 USC 7513 or 5 CFR Part 752. However, the Employment Office must still contact the servicing Labor Relations Office and the supervisor of the employee under these circumstances. The Labor Relations/Employee Relations Specialist should advise management on options such as having an information discussion with the employee to offer a voluntary change to the previously held position (if the action was an erroneous promotion) or voluntary resignation (if the action was an erroneous appointment). If the employee does not elect to voluntarily return to the former position or resign, action to change the employee to return the employee to the former position or separate during the probationary period should be taken.

  5. For those employees who are not serving a probationary period, in accordance with 5 CFR Part 752, subparts C and D, and 5 USC 7512 an adverse action may be non-disciplinary. This could include a reduction in grade or pay that will promote the efficiency of the Service. This is true even when an appointment or promotion is erroneous. If the personnel action was effected by a person with authority to do so; the employee was given a report date or effective; and the employee actually reported and performed the duties of the new or higher graded position, then any resulting change to lower grade or pay, or separation entitles the employee to adverse procedures. [See Scot v. Navy, 8 MSPR 282 (1981); Pfaff v. Defense Investigative Services, 25 MSPR 633 (1985)]. Several cases involving employees who were not provided with due process rights when an erroneous personnel action was taken were appealed to the MSPB. The agencies were not sustained when those cases involved the cancellation of erroneous personnel actions after they were effected. [See Travaglini v. Dept. of Education, 23 MSPR 417 (1984); and Brock v. Dept. of Navy,49 MSPR 564 (1991)]. If the employee is not given due process rights in accordance with 5 USC 7513 and 5 CFR 752, and the employee appeals the action, the Agency's decision will likely be reversed due to a harmful procedural error.

  6. After reviewing the facts of the case the servicing LR/ER Specialist will make a decision as to whether or not adverse action procedures must be followed. The servicing LR/ER Specialist will advise management on procedures for taking a non-disciplinary adverse action which will result in: a change to lower grade; change in pay; or removal from the position and/or Service. A letter must be issued to the employee advising him/her of his/her rights under 5 CFR Part 752.401.

  7. The correction or cancellation of a personnel action may result in a debt. If so a debt is established at the National Finance Center (NFC). The employee is issued a notification letter which provides their rights under the Debt Collection Act of 1982 and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, The employee will work directly with the appropriate Payroll Center (currently Austin) to obtain details and circumstances surrounding the erroneous action. The details of the action should be included in the Notice of Proposed Adverse Action. As with any action decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

  8. The Process Chart (Exhibit 6.752.2-1) is for LR/ER Specialists use when processing the correction of an erroneous personnel action. Employment Offices are required to contact the appropriate LR/ER Office and notify them when a determination has been made that an erroneous personnel action has been processed. A Staffing Specialist will initiate a Documentation of Erroneous Personnel Actions Form See Exhibit 6.752.2-1. in all cases in accordance with AWSS's Policy Number 293-8, entitled, Cancellation/Correction of Personnel Actions. (http://awss.web.irs.gov/ess/pps/archive/sop-uog/293-8_081706.pdf)

6.752.2.8  (12-04-2008)
Nexus

  1. In the event an employee engages in off duty misconduct, the Agency may take an action against that employee for the off duty misconduct only if a nexus (connection) can be established between the misconduct and the efficiency of the Service. In other words, there must be a connection between the misconduct and the Agency’s ability to successfully carry out its mission. In taking actions based on off duty misconduct, such things as adverse publicity, the notoriety of the offense, strained relations or apprehension on the part of fellow employees, or evidence or indication of dishonesty may be a cause and should be considered. If the event occurs off duty and/or off government premises, the nexus must be stated in any letters issued to the employee.

  2. If the employee engages in misconduct while on duty and/or on government premises, nexus is generally presumed and need not be specifically stated in any letters issued to the employee.

6.752.2.9  (10-15-2010)
Employee Entitlements

  1. Regulatory (5 C.F.R. 752) and statutory (Subpart D of 5 U.S.C. 752) requirements entitle employees to the following rights in any adverse action proceeding:

    1. Thirty (30) calendar days advance written notice. The notice must include the specific reason(s) for the proposed adverse action;

    2. A reasonable amount of time to furnish medical documentation (as defined by 5 C.F.R. 339.102) http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2009/janqtr/5cfr339.102.htm of a medical condition to which the employee wishes consideration be given as contributing to the cause of the proposed adverse action. (Whenever possible, such documentation will be supplied within the time allowed for an oral and/or written reply);

    3. Be represented by an attorney or other representative;

    4. Be retained in a duty status during the advance notice period unless a non-duty status is justified according to the requirements;

    5. Consideration of any replies submitted; and

    6. A written notice of a final decision with the specific reason(s). This decision should be issued to the employee as soon as practicable, but never be effective any earlier than thirty (30) calendar days from the date he/she received the proposal letter.

  2. The regulations are clear that the employee’s rights must not be violated. Specifically provided for in the regulations is that, in preparation of any reply (written or oral), the employee shall:

    1. Be free from restraint, coercion, discrimination or reprisal;

    2. Be given a reasonable amount of official time, as determined by the appropriate management official, to prepare for and present both oral and written replies to a notice of proposed adverse action. (Official time will be allotted to review the supporting material relied upon; to prepare the actual replies; to interview IRS employees concerning matters pertinent to the case; and to secure affidavits. In determining reasonable time, consideration should be given to the number and complexity of the reasons in the notice of proposed adverse action, the volume and availability of the information required to prepare a reply, and the number and availability of IRS employees to be interviewed); and

    3. Be given travel and subsistence, if applicable, when the oral reply is held at a site other than the employee’s post of duty.

  3. In addition to the statutory and regulatory requirements above, BU employees have contractual entitlements. If management decides to propose to reduce an employee in grade or to remove the BU employee from the Service, and if management decides to give the employee "Last Rights," prior to proposing the action, management must advise the BU employee, in writing, that he has the right to consult with NTEU and to have a representative present prior to making such a decision. The written notification must be signed by management (typically the management official conducting the meeting) and the BU employee. A copy must be provided to the BU employee and may be provided to the representative at the BU employee’s request. Employees must be able to make the decision whether to resign freely and without undue influence or pressure. Resignations may not be secured by coercive or deceptive means. If a resignation is challenged and the fact-finder determines it was secured by coercion or deception, the fact-finder may determine the resignation was not voluntary and order the employee to be returned to his/her former position with back pay and other benefits as required by law.

6.752.2.10  (10-15-2010)
Determining Appropriate Action

  1. As with any administrative action, the Agency must review the misconduct and determine what action should be proposed. The Guide to Penalty Determinations http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/docs/pdf/32178h07.pdf includes lists of offenses and first, second, or third offenses which may result in a proposed adverse action. There are also certain statutory violations that require a proposed adverse action even if it is the employee’s first offense. For example, if an employee understates a tax liability, and the Agency determines such understatement is willful in violation of Section 1203(b)(9), a proposal to remove must be issued. Pursuant to Section 1203(c), only the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue has the authority to mitigate violation of Section 1203(b).

  2. Before deciding on an administrative action, management must consider aggravating or mitigating circumstances or other factors that may have some bearing on the issue. This is consistent with the Guide to Penalty Determinations and Douglas Factors. There is an exception to this as noted above. If an employee is found to have violated any provision of Section 1203(b), only the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service has the delegated authority to mitigate a proposal to remove.

6.752.2.11  (10-15-2010)
Investigating Employee Misconduct

  1. Management may become aware of employee misconduct from various sources. For example, the misconduct could be directly observed by the manager or a management official; it could be reported to a manager or management official by another employee or taxpayer; it could be a tax matter reported via the Employee Tax Compliance (ETC) Group; or it could be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

  2. If observed and/or reported to management or a management official and the misconduct is administrative, management should conduct an investigation into the misconduct. Managers are encouraged to consult with LR/ER prior to conducting an investigation into the alleged misconduct to ensure all facts are gathered before actions are recommended. For example, ETC identifies a late filed return by an employee. A thorough investigation into the circumstances of the late filing must be conducted. In this example, fact-finding is critical so that management can determine if the employee’s actions were willful and in violation of Section 1203(b)(8). At a minimum, the manager should ask the employee why the return was filed late, when it was filed, and what circumstances prevented the employee from filing the return on time.

  3. If the misconduct involves or potentially involves criminal activity on the part of the employee, the manager must contact TIGTA prior to conducting any investigation into the alleged misconduct. If TIGTA decides to conduct an investigation, the manager should not initiate any investigation and should cooperate fully with TIGTA’s investigation.

6.752.2.12  (10-15-2010)
Research Tools and Consultations

  1. Once management has determined administrative action is appropriate, the LR/ER specialist assigned the case should conduct appropriate research to ensure the recommended course of action is consistent with the Guide to Penalty Determinations, past practice, and current case law.

  2. The LR/ER specialist has the following research tools available: Automated Labor Employee Relations Tracking System (ALERTS), CyberFEDS, and decisions made by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or FLRA.

  3. If the recommendation made by management is inconsistent with similar cases identified via ALERTS research or existing case law, the specialist should consult with the lead or supervisor. In that case, the specialist should have a subsequent discussion with management outlining the results of the research and explaining the pros/cons of pursuing the recommendation. For example, management decides to propose removal for an employee’s continued tardiness. The assigned LR/ER Specialist conducts research and finds that the recommended course of action is inconsistent with similar cases and that case law decisions would not support a removal given the facts of the case. The specialist should, after consultation with the lead and supervisor, initiate discussions with the proposing official to explain the research conducted and the potential outcome if management decides to propose removal. The discussion and results should be documented in the case file by the specialist. Ultimately, the decision on the level of discipline is management’s. The role of an LR/ER specialist is advisory.

6.752.2.13  (10-15-2010)
Procedures

  1. An employee against whom an adverse action is proposed must be given advance notice. The notice shall include:

    1. A statement that the notice is issued in accordance with 5 CFR 752;

    2. The action being proposed. For example, if management is proposing a suspension, the number of calendar days (thirty (30) calendar days) for the proposed suspension;

    3. A statement that the action may be taken at any time after thirty (30) calendar days from the date the proposal letter is received. The statute requires at least thirty (30) full calendar days as a minimum notice period. In computing the minimum thirty (30) full calendar days, the day on which the notice is delivered is not counted as it is not considered "full day. " Since a removal is effective at midnight (12:00) unless otherwise specified in the decision letter, it may be effected on the thirtieth (30th) day of the notice period. All other adverse actions, effective 12:01 a.m., may be effected on the day after the final day of the notice period. It is important to remember that, if the thirtieth (30th) day of the notice period is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the notice period is extended to include the next business day. A longer period may be used; however; care should be taken to ensure that the action is not delayed unnecessarily; [Note: the exception to this is the crime provision suspension referenced in 6.752.2.14.]

    4. The specific reasons relied upon to support the action. The reasons and specifications should be stated clearly and with sufficient detail to identify who, what, when, and where, so that the employee will be able to respond to the proposed action;

    5. A statement that the action is proposed for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the Service. If the misconduct occurred off-duty, a nexus (connection between the misconduct and the efficiency of the Service) must be included;

    6. Any factors which may enhance the penalty, such as prior discipline, must be included so that the employee has a fair opportunity to respond to those factors before a decision is made;

    7. A statement advising the employee of the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative and that the employee’s chosen representative has the right to review the material relied upon to propose the action;

    8. A statement that the employee has a right to review the material relied upon to propose the action and from whom it should be requested. The employee has the right to review all materials relied upon which formed the basis for the proposed adverse action. If the material relied upon includes tax information, disclosure restrictions must be included with the notice of proposed adverse action;

    9. A statement that the employee has a right to request an oral reply and or submit a written reply and to submit affidavits in support of such replies. If an oral reply is requested, it must be requested within seven (7) calendar days from receipt of the proposed action and that any written reply must be received within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of the proposed action. Employees may request additional time for an oral reply or to submit a written reply. Reasonable extensions should be granted provided the reasons for the extension are valid and that the request would not unduly delay the process;

    10. The identity of the person to whom any written and/or oral reply request should be submitted as well as the address where such request should be provided;

    11. If the employee is otherwise in an active duty status, the advance notice should also advise the employee of the amount of official time that may be given to request and review the material relied upon, prepare a reply to the proposed action, and from whom the employee should request such time;

    12. A statement that a final decision will not be issued until the oral reply or time for a written reply has passed and that any replies received will be given consideration. In the event an employee submits a late reply (after the fifteen (15) calendar days) but before the end of the notice period, such reply should be given consideration. In that event, the decision letter should include a statement that the late reply was received and considered;

    13. A statement that if no reply is requested or received, the decision will be made based on the evidence of record;

    14. A statement that a written decision will be issued as soon as possible after the time period for a reply is passed; and

    15. As an option, the advance notice may identify a person who the employee may contact if he/she has questions regarding the advance notice.

6.752.2.14  (10-15-2010)
Exception to Thirty (30) day Advance Notice Period – Crime Provision

  1. There is exception to the statutory/regulatory thirty (30) day advance notice period in an adverse action proceeding discussed in 6.752.2.11 above. That exception applies if an agency has a reasonable cause to believe that an employee may be guilty of a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. This is routinely referred to as the "crime provision," and allows an agency to shorten the advance notice period by proposing a removal action or a suspension (including an indefinite suspension), receive the employee’s replies and issue a decision on the matter in seven (7) calendar days rather than the full thirty (30) calendar day advance notice period.

  2. This section deals only with the duration of the advance notice period (seven (7) calendar days versus thirty (30) calendar days) when management decides to impose the crime provision. All other procedural aspects as outlined in 6.752.2.7 and 6.752.2.11, of an adverse action apply.

  3. The crime provision may only be used to propose removal or an indefinite suspension.

  4. When the evidence establishes retention of the employee in an active duty status is inappropriate, proposing an indefinite suspension under the crime provision is beneficial as it allows management to defer any final judgment until judicial proceedings are completed or until such time when sufficient evidence to support a removal is available or usable.

  5. Evidence necessary to trigger an indefinite suspension or shortened notice period, is an indictment or arrest and detention for further legal action by a magistrate. Either an indictment or arrest and detainment provide sufficient evidence to establish a reasonable cause and may be sufficient evidence to shorten the advance notice period. The Agency may also consider a shortened notice period if the Agency has facts to support reasonable cause, conducts and investigation into the matter and finds that an employee may have committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. However, a mere arrest is not sufficient evidence to establish a reasonable cause, thus the Agency should not use the shortened notice period to propose/effect an action in that situation.

  6. If the misconduct occurred off duty and/or off government premises, there must be a nexus (connection) between the crime the employee is believed to have committed and the efficiency of the Service and it must be specifically stated in the advance notice of proposed adverse action. There are exceptions. For example, if the employee is charged with an egregious act of misconduct or crime, such as murder, nexus can be presumed.

  7. If retention of the employee in an active duty status would be inappropriate but the Agency does not wish to propose/effect a removal action (e.g., the Agency wishes to defer until the criminal proceedings have been adjudicated or if evidence to substantiate a removal is not currently available or usable) the Agency should consider proposing an indefinite suspension. The benefit is that the employee is quickly taken off the Agency’s rolls while the matter is being adjudicated and/or investigated. Furthermore, unlike a removal action, an indefinite suspension is not necessarily based on provable misconduct rather it is based on the agency’s reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. As a result, the reason for the proposed action is not the misconduct itself. Instead, the reason is the indictment, or arrest and detainment of the employee which establishes a reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.

  8. If the Agency proposes a removal under the crime provision and the employee asserts that submission of any reply to the proposed action would prejudice the defense in the criminal action, a determination should be made on whether or not the record (evidence) supports the employee’s contention. The supporting LR/ER office should consult with General Legal Services (GLS) before making such determination. If the employee’s defense would be prejudiced by making a response to the proposed action, the Agency should decide an indefinite suspension rather than removal. In that event, the employee would be advised of the indefinite suspension pending adjudication of the criminal actions (presuming the reasons and specifications/evidence sustain such action). Refusal to reply based on the belief that such reply would prejudice the employee's defense should not delay the action.

6.752.2.15  (10-15-2010)
Guidelines for Identifying and Using Tax Information

  1. Tax returns or return information may not be disclosed in proposing or effecting an adverse action, except as provided by the specific provisions of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. To the extent that a return or return information is relied upon in proposing or effecting discipline, the confidentiality of the information must be safeguarded.

  2. Under the provisions of Section 6103(b)(1), a tax return is defined as "any tax or information return, declaration of estimated tax, or claim for refund required by, or provided for or permitted under the provisions of this title which is filed with the Secretary (of the Treasury) by, on behalf of, or with respect to any person and any amendment or supplement thereto, including supporting schedules, attachments or lists which are supplemental to, or part of, the return so filed."

  3. Return information is defined as "a taxpayer’s identity, the nature, source or amount of his/her income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability, tax withheld, deficiencies, over assessments, or tax payments, whether the taxpayer’s return was, is being, or will be examined or subject to other investigation or processing, or any other data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the Secretary with respect to a return or with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence of liability of any person under this title for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition or offense, and any part of any written determination or any background file document relating to such written determination which is not open to public interpretation."

  4. Section 6103(l)(4)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code permits the disclosure of returns or return information to an employee or former employee, or to a duly authorized representative, when, upon written request, the appropriate official judges the disclosure to be relevant and material to a proceeding involving personnel or claimant representative matters. Since disciplinary or adverse actions are proceedings involving personnel matters, a duly authorized representative may be authorized access to return or return information if such access is or may be relevant and material to the disciplinary or adverse action. A request for disclosure under 6103(l) (4) (A) will be evaluated by the appropriate official with delegated authority.

  5. When dealing with return and return information in disciplinary letters, code the return information, attach a key, and indicate that the employee is restricted from making disclosures of tax information without proper approval.

  6. A sanitized copy of the evidence file is normally necessary when an action is appealed to a third party. At the proceeding or hearing, an employee or an employee’s representative may use the sanitized tax information contained in the evidence file submitted by the Service to the third party. Other tax information may not be disclosed by the employee, or the employee’s representative, unless a separate written request has been submitted to and approved by the Service.

  7. In the event that disclosure of the tax information would seriously impair Federal tax administration, release of tax information to an employee and the authorization of disclosure of tax information by the employee may not be granted.

  8. When an employee’s own tax matters are an issue in a disciplinary action under appeal to a third party by the employee, disclosure of the employee’s tax records to the third party is permissible.

  9. When an employee’s failure to comply with the tax laws is a reason for taking an adverse action, use the following in the remarks section of the Personnel Action; "Reason for action – Violation relating to IRM 6.751.1.22."

6.752.2.16  (10-15-2010)
Framing Charges

  1. Ensuring the charges are properly framed is crucial when preparing an advance notice. Failure to properly frame the charges or provide sufficient specificity when describing the misconduct may result in reversal if the employee establishes that he/she did not understand the full nature of the charges, thus was denied due process rights. Consequently, specialists should familiarize themselves with statutory requirements and "lead" cases to completely understand the requirements needed to have a charge sustained.

  2. Great care should be used when deciding upon the charges. The material relied upon should be carefully reviewed to determine whether or not the evidence supports the charge and that the Agency can meet its burden of proof based upon that evidence. For example:
    Blue Violet, is a Customer Service Representative. On March 18, 2008, the manager listens to several of Violet’s telephone calls and finds that Violet was rude to taxpayers. The manager investigated further and found that Violet also hung up on approximately twenty-five (25) taxpayers in less than two (2) hours on that same day.Given the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, management decides to propose a suspension of fifteen (15) calendar days. Care must be taken to ensure that the evidence to support the charge is retained. If it is decided to charge Violet with "Discourteous Conduct with Taxpayers" the evidence must establish that Violet was discourteous to taxpayers. Further, the evidence must establish that the misconduct warrants a suspension of this nature. Examples of the types of evidence needed to prove the charge would be recordings of the telephone conversations between Violet and the taxpayers and/or written statements from the taxpayers regarding Violet’s behavior. The recordings should demonstrate Violet was discourteous to the taxpayer and the Agency’s proposed action is warranted. In addition, there must be evidence such as records/reports that Violet hung up on the taxpayers, if this misconduct is cited in the letter. The records/reports should identify the date and times that Violet engaged in the misconduct.

  3. Caution must also be exercised when using certain terms in the charge. For example, charging an employee with "falsification, " "insubordination," or "theft" will require proof that the employee’s actions were intentional . In the case of "falsification" the Agency must prove the employee intentionally falsified the document or provided false information. In the case of "insubordination, " the Agency must prove the employee intentionally decided to ignore a managerial order or directive. In the case of "theft" the Agency must prove the employee intended to permanently deprive another of an object (money or other item) that did not belong to the employee. In the case of "threat " the factors outlined in the Metz case must be proven. The "Metz test" comes from an MSPB case decision [Metz v Department of Treasury 23 MSPR 576 (1984)] and requires consideration of the following:

    • The listener’s reactions;

    • The listener’s apprehension of harm;

    • The speaker’s intent;

    • Any conditional nature of the statements; and

    • The attendant circumstances.
      Other terms to avoid when deciding upon a charge include: "immoral conduct" or, "gross negligence" , and sexual harassment, as each require higher standards of proof. In the case of "sexual harassment" the agency would have to prove that the misconduct rose to the level of sexual harassment. Often alternative charges are more appropriate and should be used to support an action. Examples of alternative charges include:

    • "Failure to provide complete information" or "Failure to provide accurate information," instead of falsification;

    • "Failure to follow a managerial directive" instead of insubordination;

    • "Taking an item that did not belong [to the employee]" instead of theft;

    • "Inappropriate conduct" or "Disruptive conduct" instead of threat; and

    • "Inappropriate conduct" or " Conduct unbecoming an IRS Employee" instead of sexual harassment.

  4. Further, care should be taken to avoid "compound" reasons as everything placed in a charge must be proven. Use the example above of Blue Violet, the Customer Service Representative who was rude and hung up on approximately twenty-five (25) taxpayers in less than two (2) hours on March 18, 2008. Management decides to propose a suspension of fifteen (15) calendar days. If you use the reason: " Rude and Discourteous Conduct with Taxpayers," you must be able to prove that Blue Violet’s conduct was both discourteous and rude. If you are unable to prove one of the charges, either discourteous or rude conduct, the entire reason will fail. In a recent decision, Valenzuela v Department of the Army http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=305727&version=306102&application=ACROBAT , the Board reopened the case after a petition for review was filed. One of the charges related to "providing false or misleading" information. In the initial decision, the judge sustained the charge commenting the agency proved the information provided by appellant was certainly misleading but not false. The Board decided that, in this case, the agency did not meet the burden of proof – that it was required to prove the information was both false and misleading. Consequently, in developing charges the use of the term "or " has the same meaning as use of the word "and" because both are considered compound charges. Better charges would be "Rude Conduct with Taxpayers," or "Discourteous Conduct with Taxpayers. "

  5. Specifications must be descriptive enough so that the employee can understand the full nature of the charges. Lack of specificity can result in reversal of the action if the employee proves the inability to prepare an adequate defense because he did not understand the nature of the charges. In the example above, Blue Violet engaged in discourteous conduct when assisting taxpayers and hung up on taxpayers. The charge (reason) is " Discourteous Conduct with Taxpayers." The expectation is that Blue Violet (and all other employees) will conduct themselves in a businesslike and professional manner when dealing with taxpayers. An example of a specification for discourteous conduct could read something to the effect of:

    • "On March 18, 2008, at approximately 3:30 p.m., you answered an incoming call from Taxpayer A. Taxpayer A contacted the Agency to find out when his/her refund would be received. You asked Taxpayer A when the return was filed. When Taxpayer A said he/she could not recall the exact date, you responded: "Then why are you calling me? You need to find out the facts before you get on the phone. " You then disconnected the call."
      Another example of this type of misconduct would be separate specifications to further illustrate the level and type of misconduct. The description above has provided sufficient specificity for Blue Violet to address the misconduct and prepare a defense.

  6. In a decision from MSPB, Mason v Department of the Navy 70 MSPR 584, 586-89. 1996, the Navy’s action was reversed because the appellant was not given sufficient information to mount a meaningful defense and appellant adequately did not receive detailed notice of the alleged misconduct prior to the hearing. Essentially, Mason was charged with " improper and unacceptable conduct in the workplace." The underlying specifications referenced racial slurs allegedly made by Mason. The advance notice did not provide Mason with any details of when or where he allegedly made the slurs. Mason made several efforts during the discovery process to find out answers to the questions. Nothing was provided by the Agency until the matter was appealed to MSPB. At that time, the agency produced testimony from witnesses to the alleged events. The Board determined that the Agency failed to give the appellant adequately detailed notice prior to the hearing of the alleged misconduct. This in turn, prejudiced his ability to mount a meaningful defense and denied him due process.

  7. In addition, if citing a rule or regulation such as the Office of Government Ethics Standards of Ethical Conduct, the citation should be exactly and directly applicable to the facts of the case and that such citation must have existed at the time the offense (misconduct) occurred. The absence of any citation or rule does not mean the action is condoned or permissible or that an adverse action cannot be proposed and/or effected for the employee’s behavior.

  8. When the reason is non-disciplinary, the specific reasons and any offers made to avoid or minimize the adverse action should be included. The employee’s response(s) to such offers should be cited particularly when a separation or demotion results from a "failure to accompany activity or function" in transfer of function situations or when an employee fails to accept reassignment to another commuting area in a directed reassignment case.

  9. When preparing an advance notice, caution should be exercised to avoid "pyramiding" when citing the reasons for the proposed adverse action. "Pyramiding" is defined as the use of separate reasons for the same incident. It is permissible to use the same event only if separate and distinct offenses are involved. The following is an example of "pyramiding:"

    Evergreen is a revenue officer. On March 6, 2007, Evergreen’s supervisor receives a travel voucher submitted on March 5, 2007,by Evergreen in connection with field visits that Evergreen allegedly made on February 13, and February 14, 2007. The manager conducts a review of Evergreen cases and finds that Evergreen did not make any field visits on either date. Evergreen is interviewed and ultimately admits that he/she did not make the visits identified in the travel voucher. The total amount of the voucher was $186.50. Management decides to suspend Evergreen for thirty (30) calendar days for the misconduct.
    Reason I You submitted an improper travel voucher.
    Specification 1 On March 5, 2007, you submitted a travel voucher for $186.50 for field visits that you did not make.
    Reason II You attempted to secure reimbursement for expenses you did not incur.
    Specification 1 On March 5, 2007, you submitted a travel voucher for $186.50 for field visits that you did not make.


    As illustrated above, both reasons relate to the same incident. Typically, "pyramiding" is viewed by third parties as an effort to support a higher penalty and will likely result in the third party determining that one of the reasons should not be sustained as there is insufficient evidence to support it. If that occurs, it is likely the penalty would be mitigated.
    The following illustrates an event where separate and distinct offenses occur:

    Blue Bird is a clerk in a submission processing center. Blue Bird’s manager provides all employees in the unit with specific written requirements regarding leave requests. The manager requires that employees call in within the first two (2) hours of their tour of duty (TOD), that they speak directly with the manager or designated acting manager, and that they identify the specific type of leave they are requesting. Blue Bird calls in at approximately 2:00 p.m., leaving a message :"won’t be in today because I’m sick," Blue Bird’s TOD is 6:30 a.m. through 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The manager subsequently finds out that Blue Bird was actually arrested and incarcerated on that day. Blue Bird was released from custody around noon. Blue Bird has been disciplined a number of times for failure to follow procedures for securing approval of leave, so management decides to propose an adverse action. The reasons/specifications could be as follows:
    Reason I You failed to follow the proper procedures to secure approval of leave.
    Specification 1 On (date), at approximately 2:00 p.m., you left a message on your manager’s voice mail system (VMS) to advise your manager that you would not be at work. Your tour of duty (TOD) is 6:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Employees are required to contact their manager to request approval of leave within the first two (2) hours of their TOD and they are required to speak directly with their manager or acting manager to secure approval of leave.
    Reason II Lack of Candor.
    Specification 1 On (date) at approximately 2:00 p.m., you left a message on your manager’s VMS stating you would not be at work because you were sick. In fact, you had been arrested and incarcerated on (date). You were subsequently released at approximately noon on (date). You did not advise your manager of the arrest and subsequent incarceration.


    In the above illustration, the same event can legitimately be used, as there are separate and distinct acts of misconduct which can form the basis of an action.

  10. Finally, it is important to note that, with the exception of the"crime provision," where the reason may an indictment or other legal proceeding, or a non-cause action, the reason must always refer to personal conduct of the employee (what the employee actually did or failed to do).

6.752.2.17  (10-15-2010)
Content of the Written Notice of Proposed Adverse Action

  1. The notice of proposed adverse action See Exhibit 6.752.2-3. must be issued to the employee in writing and must include the information below. For specific information regarding procedures related to adverse actions refer to 6.752.2.11. The proposed adverse action must:

    1. Identify the statutory and/or regulatory provisions used for the proposed action;

    2. Advise the employee of the nature of the action, such as " proposal to remove;"

    3. Advise the employee that the proposed adverse action will not take place earlier than thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the proposed notice. Except as noted in 6.752.15(3) the thirty (30) calendar day notice period is an absolute minimum. A shorter period may result in reversal of the action as the employee’s due process rights were not observed;

    4. The specific reasons relied upon to support the proposed adverse action. When citing the reasons for the proposed adverse action, care should be taken when describing the misconduct. (See 6.752.2.14, for more information related to Framing Charges);

    5. In the event the underlying misconduct occurred off-duty, a nexus statement explaining the relationship or connection between the underlying misconduct and the efficiency of the Service;

    6. Any factors which may enhance the penalty, such as prior discipline, must be included so that the employee has a fair opportunity to respond to those factors before a decision is made;

    7. A statement that the employee has a reasonable amount of time (generally fifteen (15) calendar days) in which to answer orally and/or in writing and to submit any affidavits they wish considered;

    8. The name of the official to whom any written reply should be sent (typically the proposing official), the address to which it should be sent, and if an oral reply is desired, to whom a request for an oral reply should be sent;

    9. A statement regarding the employee’s right to review the material relied upon, to whom such request should be made and how;

    10. The name of the official who should be contacted if the employee desires consideration of any medical condition which they believe may have contributed to the cause of the proposed adverse action. (See Exhibit 6.752.2-3 for sample letter);

    11. A statement that the employee has the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative;

    12. Identification of the person to whom the employee should contact if they desire clarification of any procedures or review of the regulations related to adverse actions;

    13. A statement regarding the employee’s status during the advance notice period;

    14. A statement that no final decision has been made or will be made until the reply period is over; and

    15. A statement that the employee will be given a written decision at the earliest practicable date after the expiration of the reply period.

  2. If after issuing the advance notice but before a final decision is made, the proposing official finds a need to change or amend the nexus statement(s) in the advance notice, the employee must be notified in writing of those change(s) or amendment(s) and be given an additional ten (10) calendar days to respond to the changed/amended nexus statement(s). If the employee is a member of the BU, refer to applicable provisions of the NA.

  3. Content of proposal if the Agency decides to invoke the crime provision. The advance notice ( See Exhibit 6.752.2-5. ) should, at a minimum, include the following elements in addition/or in lieu of the procedures for adverse actions as outlined in 6.752.2.13:

    1. A statement that the employee will have seven (7) calendar days from receipt of the advance notice to answer orally and/or in writing and to furnish affidavits and other documentary evidence to support their answer;

    2. A statement that no decision will be made until the reply(ies) have been received and considered, or until the time for submitting such reply(ies) has passed;

    3. If the proposed action is an indefinite suspension, a statement indicating the condition(s) that will bring the action to an end (e.g., completion of an investigation or adjudication of the criminal matter) and a statement that a removal action may be proposed prior to the termination of the indefinite suspension; and

    4. If the Agency decides to place the employee in a non-duty status with pay during the advance notice period, the letter must include a statement that the employee is immediately placed in a non-duty status with pay [5 CFR 752.404(d)] until such time as the action is effected. See 6.752.2.20 for more information regarding the placement of an employee in a non-duty status with pay during the advance notice period.

  4. If the Agency proposed a removal action but decided to indefinitely suspend the employee, the decision should note that the reason(s) and specification(s) are sustained only with respect to the fact that the evidence establishes that there is a reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. If an indefinite suspension is decided, the conditions which will bring the action to an end should be included in the decision. (See Exhibit 6.752.2-6)

6.752.2.18  (10-15-2010)
Employee Choice of Representative(s)

  1. Employees have a right to choose a representative, provided that:

    1. The employee’s choice of representative would not cause a conflict of interest or position;

    2. The release of the representative from his/her official job duties would not give rise to unreasonable costs; or

    3. The representative’s priority work assignments would not preclude release from those work assignments.

  2. Once a representative is chosen, the employee should advise the proposing official, in writing, of the choice of representative. In the event the employee’s choice of representative causes a conflict of interest or position, the proposing official should consult with the servicing LR/ER office. If it is determined that the representative would cause a conflict of interest or position, the following procedures must be followed:

    1. The proposing official will issue a notice, no later than five (5) calendar days after receipt of the designation of representative, to the employee. The notice will advise the employee of the reasons why the representative was disallowed, including any specific reasons why the choice of representative would cause a conflict of interest or position; that the employee has the right to choose another representative; and that the employee has the right to appeal the disallowance directly to the Director, Workforce Relations Division (WRD). Once this notice is issued, the supporting LR/ER office must send a copy of the disallowance letter along with a copy of the employee’s letter designating the representative to the Director, Workforce Relations 1111 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC, 20224 within five (5) calendar days of the issuance of the disallowance. If the representative was disallowed due to a conflict of interest or position, a copy of the position description for the position(s) in question must be included as well. (See Exhibit 6.752.2-8)

    2. If the employee wishes to appeal the disallowance, the employee must submit an appeal to the Director, WRD within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the disallowance notice.

    3. A final appeal decision on the disallowance will be issued by the Director, WRD within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of a timely appeal. (See Exhibit 6.752.2-9)

  3. The time periods must be enforced to avoid prolonging the advance notice period any more than is absolutely necessary. The proposing official should consider reasonable requests for additional time to designate another representative as employees may encounter difficulties attempting to secure representation.

6.752.2.19  (10-15-2010)
Delivery of Advanced Notice

  1. The agency has the burden to prove that delivery and receipt of the advance notice of proposed action was timely.

    1. To accomplish timely delivery, personal delivery (securing an acknowledgement of receipt from the employee) is the preferred method. In those instances when the employee refuses to sign, the individual delivering the notice should notate the copy of advance notice with the fact that the employee declined to sign; that the original advance notice was delivered to the employee; and date and sign the copy.

    2. If there are other witnesses to the attempt to deliver the advance notice, those witnesses should also sign/date the copy of the advance notice.

    3. If the employee is absent due to leave or travel and such absence is temporary, delivery should be made upon the employee’s return to work via personal delivery as described above. In some instances it may be advisable for someone from the Criminal Investigations Division or Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to deliver the letter in person to the employee.

    4. However, if personal delivery or delivery by messenger is not possible, the advance notice should be mailed to the employee’s address of record from payroll records. The advance notice should be mailed via regular and certified mail or overnight mail to ensure timely constructive delivery can be established.

6.752.2.20  (10-15-2010)
Employee Status During Advance Notice Period

  1. Normally, employees will remain in a duty status in their work areas during the advance notice period unless the employee is a seasonal employee and would otherwise be placed in non-duty status due to lack of work.

  2. Care should be taken when considering "enforced leave. " MSPB, in prior case decisions determined that placement of an employee on enforced leave for more than fourteen (14) calendar days was equivalent to a suspension which could be appealed to MSPB. Therefore, alternatives to enforced leave must be considered. For example, if the employee requests leave, such request should be granted as this would be a voluntary action on the part of the employee. Additional steps to consider include alteration of the employee’s work duties, excuse the employee for short term absences, or the Agency could propose or effect an indefinite suspension if there is a need to remove an employee from rolls quickly. The employee may also submit an application for a disability retirement.

  3. If management has proposed an indefinite suspension under the crime provision, they may determine that the employee’s presence in the work place could constitute a threat to other employees or government equipment/security. In that case, management may decide to place the employee on administrative leave for the duration of the shortened advance notice period or period of investigation. If the employee is placed on administrative leave for conduct reasons, the appropriate authorities to permit this must be secured consistent with the procedures for placement on administrative leave for conduct reasons as outlined in the Memorandum from the Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support,"IRS Guidance on Administrative Leave Related to Conduct Related Disciplinary or Adverse Actions" issued in January 2006, http://Appeals.web.irs.gov/managers/newsletters/2006/Oct2006/Guidance_Admin_Leave_to_Disciplinary_Adverse_Actions.pdf for placement of an employee on administrative leave due to conduct reasons.

6.752.2.21  (12-04-2008)
Right to Reply

  1. Employees facing an adverse action have three (3) options to reply to the proposed action. They may submit a written reply, and/or request an oral reply. The employee may elect to do both (a written and an oral reply), one (a written reply or an oral reply), or neither.
    Written Reply – If the employee elects to submit a written reply, there is no requirement that it be in an affidavit form or under oath. The employee may elect to include affidavits or other evidence in support of the written reply. Any written documents (including attachments provided by the employee) are made part of the adverse action file and must be reviewed and considered by the deciding official prior to making a decision.
    Oral Reply – If the employee elects to have an oral reply, he may elect to attend or not attend that reply. As with the written reply, the employee may elect to include affidavits or other evidence in support of the oral reply. Any written documents (including attachments provided by the employee) are made part of the adverse action file and must be reviewed and considered by the deciding official prior to making a decision.

  2. The reply (whether written, oral, or both) is the employee’s opportunity to provide the proposing official with an uninhibited defense, including any denial of the reasons for the proposed action, present any mitigating factors they wish considered, and/or make a plea for a less severe action. The information provided by the employee or a duly authorized representative must be reviewed and considered by the deciding official before making a decision.

  3. When management proposes to indefinitely suspend an employee under the crime provision, care should be taken to ensure the oral reply and/or written reply is received within the shortened time frame (seven (7) calendar days). To avoid delays in scheduling an oral reply, LR/ER specialists are encouraged to work with the proposing official to identify a date for the oral reply on or before the date the proposal letter is issued. In the event the employee submits a written reply, the specialist should ensure the proposing official reviews the document and makes a recommendation to the deciding official as quickly as possible.

6.752.2.22  (10-15-2010)
Oral Reply Procedures

  1. As discussed in 6.752.18.2 above, an oral reply is an employee’s opportunity to present an uninhibited oral defense against the charges stated in the proposed adverse action. The Agency does not argue or justify its actions during the reply, the oral reply is not a "formal" hearing, and the oral reply officer should not permit the proceedings to become adversarial.

  2. The procedures for an oral reply are as follows:

    1. The employee or a duly authorized representative may request the reply;

    2. The request may be submitted in writing or verbally. If requested verbally, the file should be noted with the date the request was made and who made the request;

    3. If the request is unclear, the proposing official and/or supporting LR/ER specialist should contact the employee or representative to clarify whether or not the employee is invoking the right to an oral reply to avoid any procedural errors and note the discussion in the file;

    4. The reply should be conducted at the employee’s post of duty to minimize expenses of the employee and the representative;

    5. If the employee elects to attend, he is entitled to travel and/or per diem as noted above as well as a reasonable amount of official time. However, if the employee is in a non-duty or a non-pay status at the time of the oral reply (e.g., the employee is a seasonal employee who has been placed in non-duty and/or non-pay status due to lack of work or at the employee's request), they are not entitled to official time or any pay for attendance at the oral reply;

    6. Once an oral reply has been scheduled, a court reporter will be secured to prepare a verbatim transcript of the proceedings. In rare situations (e.g., time is of the essence or unexpected problems arise when attempting to secure a court reporter), a summary of the oral reply proceedings is acceptable. If that occurs, the supporting LR/ER specialist is responsible for securing necessary stenographic services. Refer to applicable provisions of the NA if the employee is a member of the BU; and

    7. After the oral reply has been conducted, the verbatim transcript or summary will be transmitted to the employee or to the designated representative for corroboration of its content and accuracy. A due date should be established for the return of the verified or corrected transcript or summary with a reminder that if no response is received by that date, it will be considered acceptable as it stands.

6.752.2.23  (10-15-2010)
Role of the Oral Reply Officer

  1. Typically, the proposing official will serve as the oral reply officer and conduct the oral reply; however, in extraordinary situations; the proposing official may designate another manager to serve as the oral reply officer. If another manager is designated to serve as the oral reply officer, that manager must be a higher grade and/or rank than the employee making the reply. Further, that manager may not be a part of an investigative organizational unit (e.g, Criminal Investigations), unless the employee is part of that unit.

  2. The primary function of the oral reply officer is to conduct an orderly proceeding, encourage open and frank proceeding, and develop or as necessary, clarify by non-provocative questions on factual matters on which an equitable determination may be made. While the employee may be highly emotional during the proceedings, the oral reply officer must carefully guide the employee into rational discussions of the matters the employee wishes to address. Thus it is imperative that the oral reply officer avoid any appearance or inference of an adversarial proceeding. If questions are needed for clarification purposes, those questions should be asked to elicit information only.

  3. To prepare for the oral reply, the oral reply officer should – at a minimum:

    1. Consult with the servicing LR/ER specialist;

    2. Review the adverse action file, particularly the reason(s) noted in the advance notice as well as the supporting evidence;

    3. Review any relevant documentation referenced in the advance notice (e.g., rules of conduct, technical manuals, etc);

    4. If the employee is a member of the BU, review the appropriate provisions of the NA; and,

    5. Review Exhibit 6.752.2-10, Guide for Oral Reply Proceedings, for the format of the oral reply.

  4. Requests for postponement of the oral reply should be considered. However, if the request would cause a significant delay in a final decision (e.g., a request to postpone for more than 60 calendar days) it should be granted in rare circumstances. If a request for a postponement is denied in all or part, the oral reply officer should note the reasons for the denial in the file.

  5. Once the oral reply is concluded, the oral reply officer will recommend an action to the deciding official, in accordance with the procedures outlined below:

    1. The oral reply officer must carefully review the transcript or summary as well as any related affidavits or documentary evidence submitted in connection with the written and/or oral reply;

    2. Assess the credibility of all evidence in the record. If conflicting evidence exists, the oral reply officer must resolve those conflicts by either conducting additional inquiries or gathering additional facts. Once this is done, all evidence will be reviewed and determine whether the reason(s) and underlying specification(s) are supported by evidence;

    3. Recommend effecting or mitigating the proposed adverse action to the deciding official. The recommendation may be verbal or reduced to writing. If the proposing official determines the penalty should be mitigated to a lesser penalty, he should forward such recommendation to the executive who will make a final decision on the matter. If the proposing official determines the proposed adverse action should be withdrawn, he may do so provided he has the delegated authority to take such action. The proposing official may make this decision at any time prior to the decision of the deciding official. An example of a situation where the oral reply officer may decide the action should be withdrawn would be if the employee provided evidence that he did not engage in the misconduct as outlined in the proposed action.

6.752.2.24  (10-15-2010)
Role of the Deciding Official

  1. The deciding official in any adverse action must be at least one (1) administrative level higher than the proposing official. Delegation order 81 specifies which officials in each organizational segment may decide an adverse action. Typically this action is delegated to the first level executive within the business unit and may not be redelegated. While the deciding official may be aware of the existence of a case or action being taken against an employee; he may not influence the proposal or proposing official or consider information/evidence that was not included in the proposal letter unless that information/evidence was shared with the employee and/or the representative and the employee is given time to review and reply to such information/evidence. If the deciding official influences the proposal or proposing official or if the deciding official considers information/evidence not included in the proposal letter or shared with the employee and/or representative, the Agency’s action could be reversed as the employee could argue that the outcome was predetermined by the Agency.

    1. The deciding official must review the entire adverse action file, including the oral reply transcript and/or summary as well as any affidavits or other documents presented by the employee or designated representative.

    2. If in the review conflicting evidence or testimony is identified, the deciding official may inquire further to resolve those conflicts or may make a decision based on existing evidence. If additional evidence is secured, it need not be shared with the employee or representative unless such evidence is derogatory and indicates that additional reason(s) and/or specification(s) may be warranted.

    3. Once all evidence and/or testimony is considered and reviewed, the deciding official must determine whether or not the employee committed the acts as outlined in the reason(s) and specification(s). If it is determined that the employee engaged in the misconduct and the charges are supported by preponderant evidence, the deciding official may effect an adverse action. However, if the deciding official determines the employee engaged in the misconduct but the charges are supported by substantial rather than preponderant evidence, he should effect a lesser disciplinary action (see IRM 6.751.1 and IRM 6.752.1 for definitions of disciplinary actions and substantial evidence).

    4. The deciding official must determine that the action taken is going to effect will promote the efficiency of the Service and that there is a relationship between the charged misconduct and the efficiency of the Service. If the employee is a member of the BU and the nexus statement is changed, the deciding official must comply with applicable provisions of the NA related to changes to nexus statements. In deciding the action, the deciding official must also consider the Douglas Factors. The Douglas Factors are included as Exhibit 6.752.2-11 and as part of the Guide to Penalty Determinations. http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/docs/pdf/32178h07.pdf The deciding official need not prepare a written document addressing each of the individual factors; however, it is recommended that the deciding official sign a document similar to the exhibit after completing the review and consideration of those factors.

6.752.2.25  (10-15-2010)
Procedures: Nexus Statement

  1. Prior to the issuance of the decision letter, the Service may amend or change statements of nexus placed in proposal letters dealing with off-duty misconduct.

  2. Employees will be notified in writing of any amended or changed nexus statements. The employee will have ten (10) workdays to respond in writing to the statement. See also, for bargaining unit employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements.

6.752.2.26  (10-15-2010)
Procedures: Emergency Situations

  1. Alternatives to Enforced Leave. In the case of Pittman v. MSPB Civ. No. 87–3215, 11/4/87, the Court of Appeals held that the placement of an employee on enforced leave for more than fourteen (14) days is inherently disciplinary and tantamount to an appealable suspension. OPM has suggested that the following alternative to enforced leave should be considered, alone or in combination and depending on the circumstances: obtaining medical information in accordance with 5 CFR 339, voluntary leave, alternative work assignments, short-term excused leave, indefinite suspension or enforced leave under 5 CFR 752, disciplinary or adverse actions under 5CFR 752 (for cause), non-disciplinary removal under 5 CFR 752 or disability retirement.

  2. Duty Status During Inquiry or Investigation. Normally, an employee remains in a duty status in his or her regular position during an inquiry or investigation in alleged misconduct. However, in rare circumstances in which it is determined that the employee's presence at the worksite or in a particular position may pose a threat to the employee or others, result in loss of or damage to Government property, or otherwise jeopardize legitimate Government interests, the official with the delegated authority to propose an adverse action may assign the employee to another location and/or duties, if that will alleviate the problem; or may place the employee for a brief period in a paid, non-duty status. If an employee is placed in a paid, non-duty status, every effort should be made to expedite the inquiry or investigation. If an extended period of inquiry or investigation appears to be necessary, a proposed indefinite suspension or proposed period of enforced leave should be considered as appropriate. (See Exhibit 6.752.2–7 for a sample letter of proposed indefinite suspension or indefinite enforced leave.)

  3. Duty Status During Advanced Notice Period. Assigning an employee to another location and/or to other duties, or placing an employee in a paid non-duty status is also permitted during the advance notice period. (See 5 CFR 752.404(b)(3).)

6.752.2.27  (10-15-2010)
Withdrawal and Re-Issuance of a Proposed Adverse Action

  1. Any decision reached must be based solely on the reason(s) and specification(s) cited in the advance notice of proposed adverse action. The decision cannot be more severe than the action proposed. It may, however be mitigated to a lesser action. If the proposing or deciding official determines there is a need issue a new advance notice, the original advance notice must be withdrawn and a new advance notice issued.

  2. If the original advance notice is withdrawn and a new notice issued, all applicable procedures must be followed (e.g., the employee must be given thirty (30) calendar days advance notice; must be advised of the specific reason(s) for the action, etc.)

  3. Some of the reasons to consider withdrawing an adverse action and reissuing a new notice would be if:

    • A procedural error is detected;

    • New investigative information which constitutes new reason(s) is received; or,

    • A decision that the original evidence or additional new evidence warrants a more severe action than originally proposed. If the proposing official makes such determination, advance notice may be withdrawn and a new action proposed. However, if the deciding official makes such determination, then the deciding official becomes the new proposing official and the next level supervisor becomes the deciding official, presuming the new action is an adverse action.

6.752.2.28  (10-15-2010)
Harmful Procedural Error

  1. A variety of events could cause a "harmful procedural error" and jeopardize a case. 5 USC 7701(c) requires the Board to reverse an agency action if the appellant shows "harmful error in the application of the agency’s procedures in arriving at such decision " or shows that"the decision was not in accordance with law." The agency’s procedures include those required by statute, rule, or regulation.

  2. Examples of "harmful procedural error" include: failure to provide an employee with rights to appeal the Agency’s decision; failure to provide the full advance notice period (30 days unless the crime provision has been invoked), failure to state the reasons for a proposed adverse action in sufficient detail to allow the employee to make an informed reply; or consideration of information/evidence that is not in the proposal letter or subsequently shared with the employee or representative.

  3. If the employee successfully argues harmful procedural error, the action cannot be sustained and the employee is typically restored to " status quo ante."

  4. Mistakes such as typographical errors in the body of the letter are generally not viewed as "harmful procedural errors" as they would not cause the deciding official to reach a conclusion different from the one that would have been made absent cure of the error.

6.752.2.29  (10-15-2010)
Content of the Decision Notice

  1. The final decision notice should include the following (See Exhibit 6.752.2.-12):

    1. A reference to the notice of proposed action and the date it was issued;

    2. A statement identifying by date the employee’s reply(ies) and certifying these reply(ies) were considered. The decision should also indicate if no reply(ies) were received;

    3. A statement specifying the determination reached on each of the reason(s) and specification(s) included in the advance notice of proposed adverse action. It is preferable that the statement clearly indicate whether or not the reason(s) and/or specification(s) were sustained. No explanation for sustaining/not sustaining is necessary;

    4. Any factors, such as a past disciplinary record; aggravating or mitigating circumstances, or nexus (or changes/amendments to the nexus), included in the advance notice of proposed action, must be included in the decision;

    5. If a claim of discrimination is raised by the employee or representative, a statement of the legitimate management reason for the action;

    6. If any factual disputes are identified by the employee and/or representative they must be included along with the resolution of each dispute;

    7. A statement that the sustained reasons and specifications, as well as any other factor (typically the Douglas Factors) which were considered as set forth in the advance notice of proposed action warrant action to promote the efficiency of the Service;

    8. A statement that any medical condition raised by the employee or representative was considered;

    9. A statement of what action will be effected. While not a requirement, it is advisable a statement that the deciding official reached a judgment that the penalty was appropriate (e.g., the deciding official considered all relevant factors [Douglas] including those mitigating factors raised by the employee's representative during the oral reply). It is imperative that no discussion or consideration of factors other than those included in the original advance notice of proposed action or raised by the employee or representative be considered when making a decision;

    10. The effective date of the action;

    11. A statement regarding applicable appeal rights; and

    12. A statement that the personnel action form will be provided at a later time (presuming it cannot be attached at the time the decision is issued).

6.752.2.30  (12-04-2008)
Rights to Appeal

  1. Employees in the BU may appeal:

    • To binding arbitration with the consent of NTEU. Such appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the action. An appeal to binding arbitration may include a claim of discrimination;

    • To MSPB. Such appeal must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the effective date of the action; or,

    • Through the EEO complaint process. Such appeal must be filed within forty-five (45) calendar days of the effective date of the action.

  2. Employees who are not in the BU may appeal:

    • To MSPB. Such appeal must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the effective date of the action; or,

    • Through the EEO complaint process. Such appeal must be filed within forty-five (45) calendar days of the effective date of the action.

6.752.2.31  (10-15-2010)
Settlements and Last Chance Agreements

  1. Once a decision has been made, it is not uncommon for the Agency, employee and/or representative to discuss the possibility of resolving the case. This can be done before an appeal or after the employee (or representative) has filed an appeal.

  2. In general, the executive (deciding official) has the delegated authority to settle cases he/she decided. However, there is an exception related to cases involving potential violations of Section 1203(b). If the agency determined the employee’s actions were willful and violated any of the ten (10) acts or omissions of Section 1203(b), before settling the case, concurrence from the Commissioner’s Review Board, through its Executive Director must be obtained. The procedures for this process are outlined in the Information Notice http://hco.web.irs.gov/pdf/1203settle-50.pdf on settling 1203 cases for "clean records."

  3. If the agency decides to impose some level of discipline other than a removal action and enter into a "last chance" agreement with an employee, the union must be invited to any meetings with bargaining unit employees and management to discuss such agreement. Last chance agreements give employees a final chance to be retained in the service. The agreement generally will state the specific level of discipline that will be imposed (for example: a suspension of thirty (30) calendar days). In exchange, the employee must conform to agency standards of conduct for a period of time, generally one (1) or two (2) years. The agreement usually includes a description of the employee’s misconduct. It usually states that should the employee engage in the same type of misconduct, or any other misconduct, the employee may voluntarily resign or the agency will propose and effect a removal action. In most agreements, the employee retains the right to a reply but waives any/all rights to appeal the agency’s decision in any forum. Thus, a " last chance" agreement can be a useful tool to correct employee misconduct. Sample language for a "last chance" agreement is included in Exhibit 6.752.2-12.

  4. After the draft settlement document is reviewed via internal review processes, General Legal Services (GLS) should be consulted before providing the settlement or last chance agreement to management for review and signature. If the decision was appealed to a third party (MSPB or binding arbitration), GLS must be involved in the settlement process and generally will draft the settlement language.

6.752.2.32  (10-15-2010)
Records/Reports

  1. All material used to support the action must be placed in a file before preparation and issuance of a notice of proposed adverse action. The file must include documents used by the proposing official to support the reason(s), supporting evidence of any cited aggravating circumstances or nexus that are cited, and any TIGTA Reports of Investigation or exhibits. The following items should be included in the file:

    1. Copy of the notice of proposed action;

    2. Any written reply and/or affidavits or documents provided by the employee or representative;

    3. Summary or transcript of the oral reply and any exhibits;

    4. Copy of the final decision; and,

    5. Proof of delivery of the notice and decision.

  2. Copies of the file are made available, upon request, to the employee and/or his/her authorized representative. Caution must be exercised when releasing tax information. [See IRM 6.752.2.15 ].

  3. The file/documents listed above must be maintained by the Service and furnished to the MSPB upon its request.

Exhibit 6.752.2-1 
Process: Erroneous Promotions/Appointments

STARTS: Labor Relations Office received case from Employment Office/Supervisor

ENDS: Case closed on ALERTS and filed.

STEP PROCESSING DESCRIPTION RESPONSIBILITY
1 Employment Office contacts servicing Labor Relations Office and supervisor of the employee. Provides a statement explaining the erroneous promotion/appointment to Labor Relations. Servicing Employment Office/ Supervisor
2 Indicate receipt of case in ALERTSwithin 7 calendar days.
Prepare case file folder:
Left side of folder
-- Copies of employee's current and prior ALERTS case(s) printouts
-- History Control Sheet
Right side of folder:
-- All case information in reverse chronological order
Forward case to Management within 7 calendar days of receipt.
Servicing LR/ER Staff
3 Contact LRS within 10 days to:
Conduct fact finding:
-- Gather and analyze appropriate documentation (e.g. eligibility requirements, crediting plan, employee's application, employee's KSAs).

-- Contact Servicing Employment Office for additional statement(s), if necessary.
-- Discuss issue(s) with employee (Recommend staffing be available for the meeting to explain the technicalities of the case).
Discuss Issue(s).
Management
4 Advise/assist management to determine appropriate action.
-- Research ALERTS for comparable cases, case law, etc.
Servicing LR/ER
5 Send written recommendation for action through appropriate level(s) of management to LRS within 14 days. (Sample: Form 11396) http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/forms/internal/pdf/25712c02.pdf Management
6 Upon receipt of recommendation, ensure that all documentation needed to process the case is received. If not, contact appropriate manager/employment office for necessary documentation. Servicing LR/ER
7 If removal/change to lower grade (CTLG) is deemed the appropriate action, last rights may be offered in some cases. Employee may elect to voluntarily accept CTLG to avoid an Adverse Action record in their personnel file. Management
Servicing LR/ER
8 Prepare appropriate letter (e.g., proposal letter). IRMs 6.751 & 6.752
-- Draft letter within 14 calendar days after receipt of manager's recommendation.
forward letter to management with instructions based on delegation orders/customer preference to management (Sample: Signature/issuance of Letter of Transmittal)
Servicing LR/ER
9 Issue letter to employee and send receipt acknowledged copy to LR. Management
10 File receipt acknowledged copy in LR case file. Servicing LR/ER
11 If bargaining unit employee, provide appropriately sanitized copy of disciplinary action or proposal letter with ALERTS case number to NTEU Local and Regional Officeshttp://www.nteu.org/UnionOffice/hotlinks. Servicing LR/ER
12 File letter as appropriate. Servicing LR/ER
Management
13 Provide evidence relied upon, if requested. Servicing LR/ER
Management
14 If an oral reply is requested, coordinate oral reply proceedings.
-- Schedule/arrange for meeting.
--Coordinate with function to ensure procurement of court reporting service.
--Ensure RTS requests transcript within 5 workdays.
Servicing LR/ER
Management
15 Hold oral reply. Oral reply officer to be determined by the business unit. (LR will normally participate by telephone or in person). Management
Servicing LR/ER
16 Obtain transcripts of oral reply as required. Servicing LR/ER
17 Provide copy of transcript of the oral reply to oral reply officer and NTEU or other representative within 48 hours of receipt of transcript. Servicing LR/ER
18 Prepare Statement of Case for deciding official.
Provide Statement of Case and pertinent case file information to deciding official.
Servicing LR/ER
19 Discuss oral/written reply(s) with deciding official Servicing LR/ER
Management
20 Send written recommendation for action through appropriate level(s) of management to LRS. (Sample: Form 11396) Management
21 Prepare decision letter. Forward to deciding official for signature and issuance. (Sample: Signature/Issuance of Letter Transmittal) Servicing LR/ER
22 Issue letter to employee and send receipt acknowledged copy of LR. Management
23 File receipt acknowledged copy in LR case file. Servicing LR/ER
24 Advise management to timely initiate personnel action as required.
Process personnel action and file copy in case file.
Management
Servicing LR/ER
25 If bargaining unit employee, provide appropriately sanitized copy of decision letter and ALERTS case number, to NTEU Local and Regional Offices. Servicing LR/ER
26 Close case in ALERTS. Servicing LR/ER
27 If a notice of arbitration invocation or appeal to MSPB is received, file in the case file and refer to procedures for processing "Third Party Appeals." Servicing LR/ER

Exhibit 6.752.2-2 
Documentation of Erroneous Personnel Action Requiring Corrective Action

THIS SECTION SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY EMPLOYMENT STAFF:

Date Referred to LR/ER:
Employment Office:
Name of Staffing Specialist (person to contact for further information):
Phone Number:

Date Management Contacted:
Name of Business Unit contact and title:
Phone Number:

Name of employee (as it appears in HR Connect):
Type of Action (i.e., promotion, wgi, appointment): Please attach of copy of the appropriate PAR action.
Effective Date of Action:
Approval Date of SF-52/PAR Action:
Provide Details Surrounding the Action (i.e., competitive announcement, qualification determinations, etc.) If needed, please attach extra sheets of paper with narrative. Provide chronology of events with specified dates.

This section should be completed by Labor Relations Staff:
LR Specialist/Telephone Number:
Date LR Notified:
752 Procedures Required? Yes or No:
Reason:
Date Determination Made:
 
Date Returned to Employment:
Comments by Labor Relations Specialist:

Exhibit 6.752.2-3 
Sample Proposed Adverse Action (Suspension More Than 14 Days, Reduction In Grade, Removal)

__________________________

__________________________

__________________________

[If mailed include instruction:
CERTIFIED MAIL (Also Regular Mail)
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED]

Dear M_. ________________:

This is a notice of proposed adverse action issued in accordance with Title 5, Part 752 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In order to promote the efficiency of the Service, it is proposed to (state, as appropriate): "reduce you in grade from a GS-__ to a GS-__" , or "suspend you from duty and pay for a period of _____ ( ) calendar days" or "remove you from the Service," or otherwise discipline you, at any time after thirty (30) full calendar days from the date you receive this notice.

This proposed adverse action is based on the following reason(s):
Reason I:  
Specification 1:  
(In cases of off-duty misconduct, the nexus between the misconduct and the efficiency of the Service must be stated. This is a description of why and how there is a connection between the specific off-duty misconduct and the efficiency of the Service)
(If prior discipline or other aggravating circumstances are present, state): " I am also taking into account the fact that . . . "
You have a right to the material relied on to support the reasons in this notice and may request it from _________________, Labor Relations Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
(IF tax return information is used in examples or in the material relied upon, include the following 2 paragraphs):
Because you are restricted from making disclosure of tax information without proper approval, the tax cases covered in this letter are identified in an enclosure to this letter.
Tax information in this letter and the enclosure, as well as the material relied upon to support the action, may be used solely in connection with this action and related proceedings. A written request must be made if you wish to disclose the tax information to any person other than a Treasury Department employee in connection with that employee's official duties with respect to this matter. You are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 7213 and 7431 in the event of an unlawful disclosure of tax information. If you designate a representative or representatives, and you wish to disclose the tax information to that person or persons, each representative must sign and deliver the letter, which is enclosed. A letter is also enclosed which you may use to request a copy of the material relied on in this matter.
You have a right to answer, both personally and in writing, and to furnish affidavits and evidence in support of your answer. Your reply must be received by me within fifteen (15) calendar days from your receipt of this letter. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative. Any written reply or request for an oral reply should be addressed to me at (list proposing official’s mailing address) . Should you desire an oral reply, you must request it within seven (7) calendar days from your receipt of this letter. If otherwise in an active duty status, you have a right to a reasonable amount of official time to review the material relied on in this matter, to secure affidavits, and to prepare an answer. For these purposes, you will be allowed four (4) hours of official time. In addition, you will be allowed official time to make an oral reply if you choose to do so. You should arrange with your supervisor for any use of official time. Furthermore, if you need additional official time (other than what was initially granted to you) to prepare a response, you must request and obtain approval for the additional time. A disallowance of additional time does not preclude you from preparing a response on your own time, or filing a grievance to challenge the denial of additional reasonable time.
If you wish the Agency to consider any medical condition which you believe has contributed to the reason(s) for this proposed action, please contact __________. You will be provided with information concerning medical documentation requirements. You may also contact ______________ for further explanation if you do not fully understand the reason(s) for this proposed action.
A final decision will not be made in this matter until your reply or replies have been received and considered or, if no reply is received, until after the time specified for the replies has passed. Any replies submitted by you will be given full consideration. You will be notified in writing of the final decision. (For a non-seasonal permanent employee): You will be retained in a work status during the advance notice period. (For a seasonal employee in work status) : You will be retained in a work status during the advance notice period, unless workload requirements necessitate placing you in a non-duty status during the advance notice period. (For a seasonal employee in non-work status): You will remain in a non-duty status during the advance notice period, unless workload requirements necessitate recalling you to duty.
  Sincerely,
  __________Title of Appropriate Level Supervisor (See delegation orders – normally Operations Level or Territory Manager)
Enclosure(s)  

[NOTE: For Bargaining-Unit employees: A copy of the notice will be provided simultaneously to NTEU.]

Exhibit 6.752.2-4 
Medical Documentation Requirements

___________________ ___________________ ___________________  
[If mailed include instruction:
CERTIFIED MAIL (Also Regular Mail)
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED]
Dear M. :
On (date) , you received a letter proposing to (either: " suspend you from duty and pay for a period of _____ ( ) calendar days, " " reduce you in grade from a GS- ___ to a GS- _____," or " remove you from the Service. " ) In that letter, you were informed that the Agency would consider any medical condition which you believe has contributed to the reason(s) for the proposed action. On (date) , you (or your representative) requested the medical documentation requirements. This letter is to inform you of the medical documentation that will be needed from your physician.
It must include the following:
1. The history of the specific medical condition(s), including references to findings from previous examinations, treatment, and response to treatment.
2. Assessment of the current clinical status and plans for future treatment
3. A diagnosis;  
4. An estimate of the expected date of full or partial recovery;
5. An explanation of the impact of the medical condition on life activities, both on and off the job;
6. A narrative explanation of the medical basis for any conclusion that the medical condition has or has not become static or well-stabilized;
7. A narrative explanation of the medical basis for any conclusion which indicates the likelihood that the individual is, or is not, expected to experience sudden or subtle incapacitation as a result of the medical condition; and
8. A narrative explanation of the medical basis for any conclusion that duty restrictions or accommodations are, or are not, warranted and, if they are, an explanation of therapeutic or risk-avoiding value and the nature of any similar restrictions or accommodations recommended for non-work related activities. A narrative explanation of the medical basis for any conclusion which indicates the likelihood that the individual is, or is not, expected to suffer injury or harm by carrying out, with or without accommodation, the tasks or duties of a position for which he/she is assigned or qualified.
Please supply this documentation to me within ten (10) workdays of your receipt of this letter or provide me with a written explanation detailing why you cannot comply.
(NOTE: If mailed to employee, include this sentence: An envelope is enclosed for your convenience.) Any medical documentation provided will be reviewed in coordination with a physician to ensure that the diagnosis or clinical impression is justified in accordance with established diagnostic criteria and that the conclusions and recommendations are not inconsistent with generally accepted medical principles and practices.
You should also be aware of the fact that if you are unable (because of disease or injury) to render useful and efficient service in a position at your current grade or pay, you may be eligible for a disability retirement. To apply for a disability retirement, you must file an application form with the Office of Personnel Management through your Personnel Office. I can provide you with additional information and supply you with the appropriate forms.
  Sincerely,
  ___________________ (Title of Management Official who proposed the action)
Enclosure(s)  
(Include only if letter is mailed to employee)

Exhibit 6.752.2-5 
Proposed Indefinite Suspension 752 – Crime Provision

______________________ ______________________ ______________________  
[If mailed include instruction:
CERTIFIED MAIL (Also Regular Mail)
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED]
Dear M_. ______________:
This is a notice of proposed adverse action issued in accordance with Title 5, Part 752 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In order to promote the efficiency of the Service, it is proposed to suspend you from duty and pay for an indefinite period of time pending (Indicate the reason for choosing an indefinite suspension, further investigation and/or resolution of criminal charges against the employee). Should this proposal result in an indefinite suspension and should the investigation and administrative determination so warrant, a removal action may be proposed while you are in an indefinite suspension status.
This proposed indefinite suspension is based on the following reason:
Reason I: (State the basis for the indefinite suspension, e.g. , "You were indicted for . . . ." or state:"There is reasonable cause to believe that you may be guilty of a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. " ).
Specification 1: (Detail the basis for the suspension, i.e., either the particulars of the legal process [when arrested or indicted, where, for what] or, if based on an investigation, a brief description of what the investigation disclosed and why it is believed that a crime has been committed. ).
(In cases of off-duty misconduct, the nexus between the crime and the efficiency of the Service must be stated. This is a description of why and how there is a connection between the specific off-duty misconduct and the efficiency of the Service)
You have a right to the material relied on to support the reasons in this notice and may request it from __________________,Labor Relations Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
(If tax return information is used in examples or in the material relied on, include the following paragraph):
Because you are restricted from making disclosure of tax information without proper approval, the tax cases covered in this letter are identified in an enclosure to this letter. Tax information in this letter and the enclosure, as well as the material relied upon to support the action, may be used solely in connection with this action and related proceedings. A written request must be made if you wish to disclose the tax information to any person other than a Treasury Department employee in connection with that employee's official duties with respect to this matter. You are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 7213 and 7431 in the event of an unlawful disclosure of tax information. If you designate a representative or representatives, and you wish to disclose the tax information to that person or persons, each representative must sign and deliver the letter, which is enclosed. A letter is also enclosed which you may use to request a copy of the material relied on in this matter.
Because there is reasonable cause to believe that a crime has been committed for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed, the notice period for this proposed action is reduced to seven (7) calendar days. You have a right to answer, both personally and in writing, and to furnish affidavits and evidence in support of your answer. Your written and/or oral reply must be received by me within seven (7) calendar days from your receipt of this letter. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative. Any written reply or request for an oral reply should be addressed to me at (list proposing official’s mailing address). Requests for an oral reply can also be directed to _______________, Labor Relations Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX .
If you wish the Agency to consider any medical condition which you believe has contributed to the reason for this proposed action, please contact ____________. You will be provided with information concerning medical documentation requirements. You may also contact ______________ for further explanation if you do not fully understand the reason for this proposed action.
A final decision will not be made in this matter until your reply or replies have been received and considered or, if no reply is received, until after the time specified for the replies have passed. Any replies submitted by you will be given full consideration. You will be notified in writing of the final decision. (NOTE: Modify language if the employee is AWOL, in a non-duty status, or on leave at his/her request.) You will be retained in a non duty with pay status during the advance notice period.
  Sincerely,
  _________________________ Title of Appropriate Level Supervisor (See delegation orders – normally Operations Level or Territory Manager)
Enclosure(s)  
(Applicable if disclosure paragraph is used or if letter is mailed to employee)

Exhibit 6.752.2-6 
Decision Indefinite Suspension – Crime Provision

___________________ ___________________ ___________________  
[If mailed, include instruction:
CERTIFIED MAIL (Also Regular Mail)
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED]
Dear M_. ___________:  
In a letter dated ___(date)____, it was proposed to suspend you for an indefinite period of time pending (indicate the reason indicated, i.e., further investigation and/or resolution of criminal charges) based on the reason and specification therein.
I have carefully considered the evidence relied upon (include, as applicable: replies and their dates, or any medical documentation provided. If no reply is received, state that the employee did not submit a written reply or request an oral reply).
(If the employee raised an issue of discrimination at the oral/written reply stage, the deciding official must state a legitimate management reason for the action, such as): In your reply(ies), you allege that this action is being taken against you because of your ___________________________. Having considered your reply(ies) and (if appropriate): the evidence you have submitted, I am persuaded that there are no discriminatory motives for the action. A nondiscriminatory reason for the action is that your conduct does not meet the standards required by the Service.
(If the employee raised any factual disputes, the deciding official must identify the factual disputes and state why each was rejected).
My decision is that the reason and specification stated in the letter of __(date)___ is sustained.
I considered those relevant factors raised by you and/or your representative in your reply(ies). [NOTE: If the employee did not provide any proof the arrest had been rescinded or that the Agency did not have reasonable cause to believe that he/she committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed add: You provided no probative information and/or documentation substantiating that your arrest has been rescinded or that the Agency does not have a reasonable cause to believe that you committed a crime for which the sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.]
(NOTE: Any nexus statement in the proposal letter must be included and should not be altered.)
I have concluded that an indefinite suspension will promote the efficiency of the Service. It is my decision that you be suspended from duty and pay commencing (date) . A removal action may be proposed prior to the termination of this suspension, which will occur (state the situation that will end the indefinite suspension, as referenced in the proposal letter, i.e., upon completion of the investigation or resolution of criminal charges).
You have the right to appeal the procedures and merits of this action to the Merit Systems Protection Board, [Insert Address of MSPB Office], under Part 752 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
A copy of the Merit Systems Protection Board regulations is enclosed with this letter. [NOTE: MSPB REGULATIONS ONLY REQUIRE THAT THE AGENCY "PROVIDE A COPY OR ACCESS TO A COPY OF THE REGULATIONS; IF THE REGULATIONS ARE NOT ATTACHED, MODIFY THE SENTENCE ACCORDINGLY TO INDICATE WHERE ACCESS TO A COPY CAN BE OBTAINED. IF YOU ARE PROVIDING THE ABBREVIATED REGULATIONS, INCLUDE LANGUAGE SUCH AS" " A portion of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) regulations related to the filing of appeals is enclosed with this letter. Additional information regarding MSPB regulations and procedures is available on the MSPB web site at www.mspb.gov.]" Section 1201.24(a) of the regulations tells you what information must be included in your written appeal to the Board. Also enclosed is a copy of the MSPB Appeal Form 185, although it is not required that you file your appeal using the form. However, since completion of the form would constitute compliance with the requirements of Section 1201.24(a), you are encouraged to use the form. To be timely, an appeal to the Board must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the effective date, if any, of the action being appealed, or 30 calendar days after the date of receipt of the Agency's decision, whichever is later. Where an appellant and an agency mutually agree, in writing, to attempt to resolve their dispute through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process prior to the timely filing of an appeal; the time limit for filing the appeal is extended by an additional 30 calendar days -- for a total of 60 calendar days. Filing can be by personal delivery or by facsimile during normal business hours to the Board field office indicated above, in which case the date of receipt in the Board's office is the date of filing, or filing can be by mail to that office, in which case the date of mailing is the date of filing. If you do not submit an appeal within the time set by Board regulations, the appeal will be dismissed as untimely filed unless a good reason for the delay is shown.
The Merit Systems Protection Board accepts appeals in several different formats. You can find out more information about how to file an appeal at https://e-appeal.mspb.gov This MSPB website explains the options on how to file an appeal. In summary, you may file a paper appeal (either Form 185, or the appellant's letter or other written format) by regular mail, facsimile (fax), or commercial or personal delivery or you may prepare and file your appeal electronically using e-Appeal, the Board's internet filing procedure.
Should you allege that the action taken against you was based in whole or in part on discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or physical or mental handicap, you have the following options available to you. You may appeal the discrimination allegation to the Merit Systems Protection Board, or you may appeal the discrimination allegation along with any other issue you would have otherwise appealed to the Board through the IRS discrimination complaint system under Part 1614 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations. To appeal under Part 1614, the allegation must be brought to the attention of an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the effective date of this action. A description of subsequent appeal rights available under a Part 1614 appeal may be found in Subpart E of the enclosed Merit Systems Protection Board regulations.

Note:

IF A COPY OF THE REGULATIONS IN THEIR ENTIRETY ARE NOT INCLUDED, CHANGE THIS LANGUAGE ACCORDINGLY.] You may not initially file both an appeal to the MSPB and a complaint under Part 1614 on the same matter. Whichever is filed first shall be considered an election to proceed in that forum.
Information about appeal rights and procedures may be obtained from ____________, Labor Relations Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX and/or your EEO counselor.
(Include paragraph below for BU employees only) As an alternative to an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, you may appeal this decision, with the consent of the Union, to binding arbitration in accordance with the National Agreement between IRS and the National Treasury Employees Union. Under no condition may you appeal this action to both the Board and arbitration. (The filing of an appeal in both forums will result in the dismissal of whichever appeal is filed later.) An allegation of illegal discrimination may be raised in connection with the appeal to arbitration if the specific nature of the discrimination, the facts upon which the allegation is based, and the name(s) of the alleged discriminating official(s) were presented in writing at the oral/written reply stage, or no later than submission of notification of invocation to arbitration, and if you have not made timely contact with an EEO counselor concerning this matter. Should you raise an issue of illegal discrimination and should you not prevail at arbitration, you have the right to request the Board to review the arbitrator’s decision under 5 U.S.C. 7702. The request for Board review must be filed with the Clerk of the Board, Merit Systems Protection Board, Washington, D.C. 20419, within thirty-five (35) calendar days of the issuance of a decision, or if it can be shown that the decision was received more than five (5) calendar days after the date of issuance, within thirty (30) calendar days after the date the decision was received. Within thirty (30) days of receiving the Board’s final decision, you have the right to petition the EEO Commission to consider the Board’s decision or to file a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court. An appeal of the arbitrator's decision, only with respect to those matters not involving allegations of discrimination, may be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
If the employee meets the Service’s requirements for disability retirement and there are indications that a medical condition may be the cause of the reason for the action, add) : If you believe that a medical condition is the cause of the reasons for this action, you may file an application for a disability retirement. Please contact __________________ at (XXX) XXX-XXX for additional information.
A Standard Form 50 effecting your indefinite suspension will be forwarded to you when available.
  Sincerely,
  _________________ Title of Appropriate Level Supervisor (See delegation orders – Normally First Level Executive)
Enclosure(s)  

Exhibit 6.752.2-7 
Suggested Notice of Proposed Indefinite Enforced Leave (Pending Inquiry; Non-Criminal)

This is a notice of proposed adverse action issued in accordance with Part 752 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In order to promote the efficiency of the service, it is proposed to suspend you from duty and pay [or, where there is a need to keep the employee away from the work site because of doubts about the employee’s medical condition and the employee’s ability to work in a safe and reliable manner, "it is proposed to place you on leave" ] for an indefinite period of time pending inquiry, at any time after thirty full calendar days from the date you receive this notice. Should this proposal result in an indefinite suspension [or indefinite leave status] you will be retained in that status until such time as our inquiry into your conduct or condition is concluded. Should investigation and administrative determination so warrant, a removal action may be proposed while you are in an indefinite suspension [or indefinite leave] status.


This proposed action is based on the following reason:


Reason: [State the basis for the action, e.g., "Your (actions, behavior, condition) raise concerns that your retention in a duty status could be injurious to yourself, other employees, or the public;" or "Your retention in a duty status during the investigation of your alleged misconduct in connection with… would jeopardize the reputation of the IRS because of the attendant adverse publicity." ]

Specification: [Detail the basis for the suspension, i.e., the specific facts that have raised the concerns mentioned in the reason. In connection with a proposal for indefinite leave, include facts supporting a belief that there may be a medical problem.]

[In cases of off-duty misconduct, the nexus must be stated. This is a description of why and how there is a connection between the specific off-duty misconduct and the efficiency of the service. As applicable, the connection might be established in terms of publicity or notoriety, the effect on the image of the Service or ability to accomplish the mission of the Service, the effect on the Service’s ability to rely on the integrity, honesty or good judgment of the employee (especially for responsible jobs), the effect on coworkers (safety concerns, morale, job performance, etc.), and direct applicability to the job (an obvious nexus, such as with tax cases). Begin with a phrase such as the following: "The actions at issue in this matter would seriously impair the efficiency of the Service… " ]


You have a right to the material relied on to support the reasons in this notice and may request if from _______________.


[If tax return information is used in examples or in the material relied on, state:] Because you are restricted from making disclosure of tax information without proper approval, the tax cases covered in this letter are identified in an attachment to this letter. Tax information in this letter and the attachment, as well as the material relied upon to support the action, may be used solely in connection with this action and related proceedings. A written request must be made if you wish to disclose the tax information to any person other than a Treasury employee in connection with that employee’s official duties with respect to this matter. You are subject to the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 7213 and 7431 in the event of an unlawful disclosure of tax information. If you designate a representative or representatives and you wish to disclose the tax information to that person or persons, each representative must sign and deliver the letter which is attached. A letter is also attached which you may use to request a copy of the material relied on in this matter. [See Exhibit 6.752.1-2 for the form letters.]


You have the right to answer both personally and in writing and to furnish affidavits and evidence in support of your answer. Your written and/or oral reply must be received by me within fifteen (15) calendar days from your receipt of this letter. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative. Any written reply or request for an oral reply should be addressed to . Should you desire an oral reply, you may request it within seven (7) calendar days from your receipt of this letter.


A final decision will not be made in this matter until your reply or replies have been received and considered, or, if no reply is received, until after the time specified for the replies has passed. Any replies submitted by you will be given full consideration. You will be notified in writing of the final decision. [Indicate the status during the advance notice period. Unless the employee can be assigned to other duties or another location as a temporary measure to alleviate the concerns mentioned in the reason state:] you will be retained in a non-duty with pay status during the advance notice period.


Sincerely,

Note:

For bargaining unit employees, a copy of this notice will be provided simultaneously to NTEU. Exhibit 6.752.2-7 should be used as the basis for the Notice of Proposed Indefinite Suspension.

Exhibit 6.752.2-8 
Denial of Representative (by proposing official)

MEMORANDUM TO: EMPLOYEE NAME EMPLOYEE TITLE
FROM: Name of Proposing Official Title of Proposing Official
SUBJECT: Denial of Representative
On (date) you advised me that you wished (name of individual) to represent you in connection with the proposal to (remove, reduce you in grade, etc from the proposal letter).
[The specific reasons why the employee’s choice of representative is being denied must be stated. For example: You are a manager of Unit 1 in Department (or area) X. The employee you have chosen as your representative is an employee of Department (or area) X. As a manager in Unit 1, Department (or area) X, you may be in the supervisory chain of the employee. Thus, your choice of representative could cause a real or apparent conflict of interest.]
If you disagree with my decision, you must file an appeal, within five (5) calendar days of receipt of this memorandum to the Director of Workforce Relations Division at the following address:
1111 Constitution Avenue Washington, DC. 20224  

Exhibit 6.752.2-9 
Denial of Representative (by Director, WRD)

MEMORANDUM TO: EMPLOYEE NAME EMPLOYEE TITLE
FROM: Name
Director, Workforce Relations Division
SUBJECT: Appeal of Denial of Representative
On (date) you appealed management’s decision to deny (name of chosen representative) as your representative in connection with the proposed adverse action.
I considered the information included in your appeal, your job, and the nature of your chosen representative’s job. I agree with management that allowing (Name of chosen representative) to represent you in this matter, would constitute a real or apparent conflict of interest as that individual is a bargaining unit employee in your department. Therefore, I am denying your choice of representative.
If you wish to be represented in connection with the proposed adverse action, you have a right to choose another representative. You should advise the proposing official of the identity of that representative as soon as possible. If you do not identify another representative, management will consider that you do not wish to be represented and will proceed with the action.

Exhibit 6.752.2-10 
Guide for Oral Reply Proceedings

The oral reply officer should open the proceeding by providing the following information on the record:

The name and job title of the Oral Reply Officer.

A statement that he/she will be the Oral Reply Officer for the proceedings.

Explain the purpose of the oral reply [to allow the employee and/or his/her representative the opportunity to present information related to the proposed action].

A statement recognizing that the oral reply is not a " hearing" and it will not be allowed to develop into an adversarial type of hearing.

A statement recognizing that, in the proceeding, the Service does not argue or present its case.

A statement that witnesses are not permitted at the proceedings since this is not a "hearing," however, the employee and/or his/her representative may furnish affidavits for consideration.

A statement that a copy of the oral reply procedures was furnished to the employee/representative on (identify the date they were provided).

Confirm that the employee and/or his/her representative have had a chance to review the procedures.

Confirm whether or not the employee or his/her representative have questions regarding the procedures

Confirmation of who will be the primary spokesperson for the proceedings

At the conclusion of the employee’s reply, the Oral Reply Officer should provide the following statements for the record:

A copy of the oral reply transcript will be furnished to the employee (or designated representative) after receipt.

A copy of the entire file in this matter, including the oral reply transcript, will be furnished to the deciding official (typically the First Level Executive).

A written decision will be issued by the deciding official once he/she has reviewed the entire file and made a decision regarding the matter.

Confirm whether or not the employee and/or his/her representative feel they have had a full/fair opportunity to present the reply.

The Oral Reply Officer should then close the record.

Exhibit 6.752.2-11 
Douglas Factors

Note:

Not all of the factors below will be pertinent in every case. Some may weigh in the employee's favor while others may not or may even constitute aggravating circumstances. Selection of an appropriate penalty must involve a responsible balancing of the relevant factors.

0x2713 The nature and seriousness of the offense, and its relation to the employee’s duties, position, and responsibilities, including whether the offense was intentional or technical or inadvertent, or was committed maliciously or for gain, or was frequently repeated. (What is the impact on the agency? Is it an integrity issue or just poor judgment?)

0x2713 The employee’s job level and type of employment, including supervisory or fiduciary role, contacts with the public, and prominence of the position.

0x2713 The employee's past disciplinary record.

0x2713 The employee’s work record, including length of service, performance on the job, ability to get along with fellow workers, and dependability.

0x2713 The effect of the offense upon the employee’s ability to perform at a satisfactory level and its effect upon supervisor’s confidence in the employee’s ability to perform assigned duties.

0x2713 Consistency of the penalty with those imposed on other employees for the same or similar offenses.

0x2713 The notoriety of the offense or its impact upon the reputation of the agency.

0x2713The clarity with which the employee was on notice of any rules violated in committing the offense, or had been warned about the conduct in question.

0x2713 Potential for the employee’s rehabilitation.

0x2713 Mitigating circumstances surrounding the offense such as unusual job tensions, personality problems, mental impairment, harassment, or bad faith, malice or provocation on the part of others involved in the matter.

0x2713 The adequacy and effectiveness of alternative sanctions to deter such conduct in the future by the employee or others.

Exhibit 6.752.2-12 
Adverse Action 752 – Decision

_____________________ _____________________ _____________________  
[If mailed, include instruction CERTIFIED MAIL (Also Regular Mail) RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED]  
Dear M_. _____________:  
In a letter dated (date) , it was proposed to (state as appropriate) : "remove you from the Service," or"reduce you in grade from a GS-____ to a GS-___," or"suspend you from duty and pay for a period of ___ ( ) calendar days" based on the reason(s) and specification(s) therein.
I have carefully considered (include, as applicable: replies and their dates, including any medical documentation provided. If no reply is received, state that the employee did not submit a written reply or request an oral reply).
(If the employee raised an issue of discrimination at the oral/written reply stage, the deciding official must state a legitimate management reason for the action such as) In your reply, you allege that this action is being taken against you because of your ___________________________. Having considered your replies and the evidence you have submitted, I am persuaded that there are no discriminatory motives for the action. A nondiscriminatory reason for the action is that your conduct does not meet the standards required by the Service.
(If the employee raised any factual disputes, the deciding official must identify the factual disputes and state why each was rejected)
My decision regarding the reason(s) stated in the letter of (date) , is as follows:
Reason I:  
Specification 1:  
(NOTE: Any nexus statement in the proposal letter must be included and should not be altered)
In determining what penalty is adequate and appropriate in this case, I have considered all relevant factors, including the Douglas Factors as listed in the Internal Revenue Guide to Penalty Determinations and those raised by you and your representative in your replies.
(For removal, state):  
I have concluded that removal will promote the efficiency of the Service and that a lesser penalty would be inadequate. It is my decision to remove you from the Internal Revenue Service effective (date) .
(For a demotion, state):  
I have concluded that a reduction in grade will promote the efficiency of the Service. It is my decision to reduce you in grade from a GS-_____salary to a GS-_____salary effective (date) .
(For a suspension, state):  
I have concluded that a suspension will promote the efficiency of the Service. It is my decision that you be suspended from duty and pay for a period of _____ ( ) calendar days commencing (date) . You will return to duty at __:__ _.m. on __(date)___ [NOTE: if the suspension ends on a non-work day and the employee will return to duty following that non-work add: "which is your next official workday." ] If you engage in any future misconduct, consideration will be given to this action. Future discipline could be severe.
You have the right to appeal the procedures and merits of this action to the Merit Systems Protection Board, [Insert Address of MSPB Office], under Part 752 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
A copy of the Merit Systems Protection Board regulations is enclosed with this letter. [NOTE: MSPB REGULATIONS ONLY REQUIRE THAT THE AGENCY "PROVIDE A COPY OR ACCESS TO A COPY" OF THE REGULATIONS; IF THE REGULATIONS ARE NOT ATTACHED, MODIFY THE SENTENCE ACCORDINGLY TO INDICATE WHERE ACCESS TO A COPY CAN BE OBTAINED. IF YOU ARE PROVIDING THE ABBREVIATED REGULATIONS, INCLUDE LANGUAGE SUCH AS "A portion of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) regulations related to the filing of appeals is enclosed with this letter. Additional information regarding MSPB regulations and procedures is available on the MSPB web site at www.mspb.gov." ] Section 1201.24(a) of the regulations tells you what information must be included in your written appeal to the Board. Also enclosed is a copy of the MSPB Appeal Form 185, although it is not required that you file your appeal using the form. However, since completion of the form would constitute compliance with the requirements of Section 1201.24(a), you are encouraged to use the form. To be timely, an appeal to the Board must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the effective date, if any, of the action being appealed, or 30 calendar days after the date of receipt of the agency's decision, whichever is later. Where an appellant and an agency mutually agree, in writing, to attempt to resolve their dispute through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process prior to the timely filing of an appeal; the time limit for filing the appeal is extended by an additional 30 calendar days -- for a total of 60 calendar days. Filing can be by personal delivery or by facsimile during normal business hours to the Board field office indicated above, in which case the date of receipt in the Board's office is the date of filing, or filing can be by mail to that office, in which case the date of mailing is the date of filing. If you do not submit an appeal within the time set by Board regulations, the appeal will be dismissed as untimely filed unless a good reason for the delay is shown.
The Merit Systems Protection Board accepts appeals in several different forms. You can find out more information about how to file a appeal at https://e-appeal.mspb.gov. This MSPB website explains the options on how to file appeal. In summary, you may file a paper appeal (either Form 185, or the appellant's letter or other written format) by regular mail, facsimile (fax), or commercial or personal delivery or you may prepare and file your appeal electronically using e-Appeal, the Board's internet filing procedure.
Should you allege that the action taken against you was based in whole or in part on discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or physical or mental handicap, you have the following options available to you. You may appeal the discrimination allegation to the Merit Systems Protection Board, or you may appeal the discrimination allegation along with any other issue you would have otherwise appealed to the Board through the IRS discrimination complaint system under Part 1614 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations. To appeal under Part 1614, the allegation must be brought to the attention of an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the effective date of this action. A description of subsequent appeal rights available under a Part 1614 appeal may be found in Subpart E of the enclosed Merit Systems Protection Board regulations. [NOTE: IF A COPY OF THE REGULATIONS IN THEIR ENTIRETY ARE NOT INCLUDED, CHANGE THIS LANGUAGE ACCORDINGLY.] You may not initially file both an appeal to the MSPB and a complaint under Part 1614 on the same matter. Whichever is filed first shall be considered an election to proceed in that forum.
Information about appeal rights and procedures may be obtained from ____________, Labor Relations Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX and/or your EEO counselor.
(For the bargaining unit employee, add the following paragraph):
As an alternative to an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, you may appeal this decision, with the consent of the Union, to binding arbitration in accordance with the National Agreement between IRS and the National Treasury Employees Union. Under no condition may you appeal this action to both the Board and arbitration. (The filing of an appeal in both forums will result in the dismissal of whichever appeal is filed later.) An allegation of illegal discrimination may be raised in connection with the appeal to arbitration if the specific nature of the discrimination, the facts upon which the allegation is based, and the name(s) of the alleged discriminating official(s) were presented in writing at the oral/written reply stage, or no later than submission of notification of invocation to arbitration, and if you have not made timely contact with an EEO counselor concerning this matter. Should you raise an issue of illegal discrimination and should you not prevail at arbitration, you have the right to request the Board to review the arbitrator's decision under 5 USC7702. The request for board review must be filed with the Clerk of the Board, Merit Systems Protection Board, Washington, DC 20419, within 35 days of the issuance of a decision, or if it can be shown that a decision was received more than 5 day after the date of issuance, within 30 days after the date the decision was received. Within 30 days of receiving the Board's final decision, you have the right to petition the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to consider the Board's decision, or to file a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court.
(If the employee meets the Service requirements for disability retirement and there are indications that a medical condition may be the cause of the reason for the action, add):
If you believe that a medical condition is the cause of the reasons for this action, you may file an application for a disability retirement. Please contact ________________, Human Resources Specialist, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX for additional information.
A Standard Form 50 effecting your __________ will be forwarded to you when available.
  Sincerely,
  __________________ Title of Management Official (See Delegations Orders Normally First Level Executive)
Enclosure  
[NOTE: For Bargaining Unit employees: A copy of the notice will be provided simultaneously to NTEU.]

Exhibit 6.752.2-13 
Sample Last Chance Agreement – Imposing a 30 day suspension Instead of removal [includes language for employees who are over age 40]

LAST CHANCE AGREEMENT

In final, complete and binding settlement of any/all claims arising from and/or related to the notice dated February x, 200x, by the Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service ("Agency " ), that it was proposing to remove [ Employee Name] ("Employee" ) from [his/her] employment, the Agency, Employee, and NTEU Chapter xx ("Union" ) hereby agree as follows:

1. The Agency will impose a suspension of [list number of days]. Such suspension will commence [date ]. The employee will be expected to return to duty from the suspension on [date], which is [his/her ] next regularly scheduled work day. The employee will receive a copy of the Standard Forms (SF) 50 effecting the suspension as soon as possible.

2. A copy of the Last Chance Agreement will be retained by the first-line supervisor. A copy will also be retained by the Agency in the Labor Relations files. Copies of the SF-50 effecting the suspension and return to duty will be retained in the employee’s Official Personnel File.

3. The employee agrees not to appeal or otherwise challenge the thirty (30) day suspension or the voluntary nature of this agreement, or to bring any other related claim against the Agency, in any forum, including, but not limited to: the negotiated grievance/arbitration process, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or any federal or state court.

4. The employee and Union agree that this Agreement represents the employee’s "Last Chance" at employment with the Agency. Should the employee engage in misconduct such as: [describe the underlying misconduct from the proposal letter. For example: fail to report to duty, fail to follow established procedures for securing approval of leave or should management disapprove future requests for leave and place the employee in absence without leave (AWOL) status ], the employee understands the Agency will propose [his/her] removal from the Service. In that event, the employee may elect to voluntarily resign from the Service prior to receiving a letter proposing [his/her] removal.

5. If the Agency proposes the employee’s removal from the Service for misconduct described in paragraph (4) above, the employee will retain the right to submit a written reply to the proposed adverse action. The Agency will consider any written reply and decide whether or not the employee engaged in the misconduct. Should the employee elect not to resign as described in paragraph (4) above or should the Agency determine that the employee engaged in the misconduct as described in the proposal letter, the employee and union agree to waive any/all rights to appeal the Agency’s proposal/decision to remove the employee in any forum, including but not limited to: the negotiated grievance/arbitration process, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or any federal or state court.

If the employee is age 40 or over, include the following language as required by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/35th/thelaw/owbpa.html

6. By signing this Agreement, Employee waives all rights and claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, as amended, as to the above-referenced matter. To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), 29 U.S.C. § 626(f), by signing this Agreement, Employee agrees that he/she :

a) understands that this waiver is part of this Agreement;

b) has read and understood this Agreement;

c) intends to waive any and all rights and claims under the ADEA as to all matters which in any way relate to or arise from the instant matter, occurring prior to Employee’s execution of this Agreement;

d) does not waive any rights or claims that may arise after the date that this Agreement has been executed;

e) is waiving rights or claims in exchange for valuable consideration in addition to anything of value to which Employee is already entitled in the absence of a waiver;

f) has been advised to consult with an attorney before signing this Agreement;

g) has been given a period of twenty one (21) calendar days within which to consider this Agreement, with the twenty one (21) calendar day period beginning on insert date Agreement given to the employee; and

h) has been given a period of seven (7) calendar days following his/her execution of the Agreement to revoke this Agreement, and the Agreement shall not become effective and enforceable until the revocation period has expired.

7. The Employee understands that pursuant to 29 CFR 1625.22(e)(6), he/she may sign this Agreement before the end of the twenty one (21) calendar day time period set forth in subparagraph (7) above, so long as his/her decision to accept a shortening of the time is knowing and voluntary and is not induced by the Agency through fraud, misrepresentation or a threat to withdraw or alter the terms of this Agreement, and that should he/she knowingly and voluntarily choose to shorten the twenty one (21) calendar day period, the mandatory seven (7) calendar day period will then commence to run on the day he/she signs this Agreement.

8. The parties waive any right to challenge or contest the validity of this Agreement.

9. If any provision of this Agreement is declared illegal or invalid, the remainder of this Agreement remains in effect.

10. The parties agree to bear their own costs and attorney fees, if any, resulting from or related to this case.

11. This agreement does not constitute an admission of any wrongdoing or violation of any law, rule, regulation, or contract by the Agency, its agents or employees.

12. This Agreement is for the parties mutual benefit and will have no precedential value in any forum. Furthermore, it shall not be used by the Union, Employee or Agency in any other proceedings or matters to justify or seek similar relief on behalf of any other person(s) or group(s).

13. This Agreement represents the parties entire agreement. No other provisions or amendments thereto shall have any force or effect unless set forth in a writing signed and dated by all parties or their designees and attached to this Agreement.

14. The Employee acknowledges that [he/she] has had an opportunity to read and consider the terms of this Agreement, has fully discussed the terms of this Agreement with [his/her ] attorney and/or any other person of [his/her] choosing, fully understands the terms of this Agreement and freely agrees to them.

15. The parties have read, understand, and voluntarily enter into this Settlement Agreement.

FOR THE AGENCY: FOR THE EMPLOYEE & UNION:
______________________ Name of Executive Date Title of Executive ________________________ Employee Name Date
   
______________________ GLS Attorney Date Office of Chief Counsel General Legal Services ______________________ Name of Steward Date NTEU Chapter XX


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