Being a federal employee means you have certain job security and benefits that are not offered to regular employees. However, sometimes federal employees face termination due to poor performance. If you are being removed from federal employment because the Agency alleges you failed a performance improvement period, there might be an argument that the Agency’s performance standards were invalid. In this blog post, we will discuss this argument and how it could help you fight the termination.
First, let’s take a look at what the law generally says about performance standards in federal employment cases. 5 USC 4302(c)(1) states that each performance appraisal system shall provide for the establishment of “performance standards which will, to the maximum extent feasible, permit the accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis of objective criteria.” This means that the performance standards should be objective and measurable.
However, sometimes the performance standards are subjective, vague, or fail to provide appropriate guidelines for evaluation. In such cases, the standard may be considered invalid, and the removal could be reversed. For example, let’s say that you work for an agency that has performance standards which require you to get along well with your co-workers to be rated satisfactory in a performance element. If you are terminated for not meeting this standard, it may be difficult to argue that this standard is objective and measurable. In such cases, you may be able to argue that the standard is invalid and fight the termination.
However, it is important to note that it is often difficult to determine where the Board will draw the line. Seeking legal help is recommended in such cases. Our federal employment attorneys are happy to see if we can help. We can review your case and determine whether your Agency’s performance standards were invalid or not.
In conclusion, if you are facing removal from federal employment due to poor performance, one argument to consider is that the Agency’s performance standards were invalid. The performance standards should be objective, measurable, communicated to the employee, and relevant to the job duties and responsibilities. If the performance standard is invalid, the removal could be reversed. Seeking legal help is recommended in such cases, as it is often difficult to determine where the Board will draw the line. Our federal employment attorneys are happy to see if we can help.