Federal employees are evaluated by supervisors every year, which are important to the employee’s career. If you hear you’re being considered for a performance employment plan, you should be wary: these are not always what they seem. Performance improvement plans are built as your federal agency giving you a chance to improve and grow in your position to help you succeed at your job. However, in our experience, performance improvement plans are usually the first step towards demotion or removal of an employee, which means you should consult with an attorney early on if you are being considered for a PIP.
The Performance Improvement Plan Process
Your PIP process begins with a Performance Appraisal Period (PAP), which is essentially a chance for you as an employee to show your capabilities in your position. This can involve assistance from the federal agency you work at, which is given to you at the outset of the PIP period, and continues throughout the process.
The whole goal of a PIP is to help you demonstrate your ability to succeed in your job. According to 5 C.F.R. § 432.104, a PIP is meant to “Afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance . . . As part of the employee’s opportunity to demonstrate acceptable performance, the agency shall offer assistance to the employee in improving unacceptable performance.”
Failing your Performance Improvement Plan
Despite the fact that they are usually billed as opportunities to help you succeed in your position, a PIP is usually the first step in your termination. In some cases, the outcome to a PIP is pre-determined, such as setting goals or requirements unattainably high. Likewise, these periods are usually 90 days in length, and are immensely detailed. Thus, when the employee fails to improve, despite their best efforts, the result is usually removal from their position.
If you are removed from your position after failing a PIP, you can fight back, however. A Washington D.C. federal employment attorney can help you determine if any of the following defenses to your failure are valid:
- Your agency failed to give you “meaningful assistance” during your PIP period, as the law mandates
- The issue your agency claimed you did not perform well on during your PIP was not listed on the PIP in the first place
- Your PIP was impossible to pass (this one is fairly common)
- Your agency made errors which show there was a conspiracy to have you fail
When any of these defenses are present, you may be able to file suit against your agency for wrongful termination.
With more than 24 years of representation experience, Attorney John P. Mahoney, Esq. and his team have helped thousands of clients with their federal employment law matters. We are proud of our reputation as a Top Rated Lawyer in the DC Metro area and our AV® Preeminent™ Raging from Martindale-Hubbell®, which stand as a testament to our dedication to our clients and ethical legal practices. We understand the immense complexity of federal employment laws and can help you seek the solution you need quickly and efficiently.Call John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorney at Law now by dialing (877) 771-2231 to schedule a case evaluation.