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Performance and the Federal Workplace

As a federal employee, your performance can impact your employment status quite heavily. Similar to how great performance can earn you a promotion, poor or subpar performance can bring a performance improvement plan or other performance action. After a poor performance allegation, your position and future employability may be in jeopardy. Our federal employment attorneys explain what you need to know about performance cases in the federal workplace.

Performance Improvement Plan

After allegations of poor performance, your employer may give you a performance improvement plan (PIP). Your PIP will detail the poor performance allegations and the necessary steps to improve your performance. It will also include the consequences of not improving your performance, which often includes demotion, reassignment, or termination of employment.

If you receive a PIP from your employer, you should create a plan to improve your performance with the help of a trusted federal employment attorney. Together you will address the PIP and begin to build a case for improved performance and for you to hit your performance standards and retain your position. Your attorney can even help negotiate with your federal agency for a reduced penalty or even the reversal of a PIP.

To learn more about performance improvement plans, read our blog!

Other Performance Actions


In some cases, you may be demoted as a result of poor performance. A demotion is often a result of not meeting the standards of your PIP.


In some cases of poor performance, your employer may reassign you to a different position or division. Reassignment is often seen as a negative consequence, as reassignments are often to undesirable departments and positions, but a reassignment does give you a fresh start in a new position.

Termination of Position

If your employer decides to terminate your employment, you will no longer be employed by the federal government. The termination of your employment as a result of poor performance can affect your employment in the future, as you will be less likely to be hired for another position in any federal agency.

How Can I Fight a Performance Action?

If you have been granted an appealable performance action or a PIP, you can fight it with the help of a federal employment attorney. You will know if your performance action is eligible for an appeal because, in your notification, you will be given the appeal process and all relevant information.

What Should I Bring to the Initial Consultation?

In your initial consultation with your employment attorney, you should be prepared and bring all relevant documents, such as your notification of performance action, your PIP, and anything else that could help your case. In your consultation, make sure to share all of this information with the attorney so they get the full scope of your case.

Why Should I Consult a Federal Employment Attorney?

While you can go through your PIP and the appeals process alone, a federal employment attorney can give you experienced guidance as you determine your course of action. Your attorney will help you create a plan that will position you for the best possible outcome, limiting unfavorable performance actions.

Consulting a federal employment attorney brings in a person who understands where you are coming from and wants to put their blood, sweat, and tears into your case so you can retain your position after allegations of poor performance.

If you have been accused of poor performance by your employer, call us today to schedule an initial consultation at (202) 350-3881. Our federal employment attorneys can walk you through your performance action and the course of action to take.