Is It Hard to Get Fired as a Federal Employee?

Yes. Federal employees are guaranteed levels of due process that other employees are not, which makes it more difficult to get fired as a federal employee. Even if your employer decides to fire you, you can appeal the removal action or otherwise fight the decision. This means all hiring (and firing) decisions are subject to third-party review.

The Lengthy Firing Process

Federal employees can only be fired for cause, whereas in other, at-will employment situations, employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all – as long as the termination does not violate local, state, or federal employment laws.

For each “cause,” of termination, the federal agency in question – and the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – has a step-by-step action plan. As such, federal employees rarely get fired without notice.

If you were to get fired for poor performance, for instance, you would first be presented with a negative performance review, then you would be put on a performance improvement plan (PIP), and you would only be fired if you failed to improve.

At the end of all of this, you would still be able to appeal your employer’s decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or ask your union for help. For these reasons, government agencies sometimes keep poorly performing employees simply because they do not want to deal with the hassle of termination.

Misconduct Cases Move Faster

If an employee does something wrong, however, the termination may be faster. For example, a federal employee with an ethics violation may be removed quickly to avoid scandal. Still, the employee will have the right to appeal or file a grievance.

Say a federal employee gets fired for stealing or wasting office supplies. That same employee could appeal the decision or argue that it was discriminatory.

Because of the potential for disagreement, termination is the last resort for federal employers. Employees may receive a letter of reprimand or be subject to other disciplinary actions before getting fired. If all else fails, an employer may even agree to wipe any wrongdoing from the employee’s records in exchange for a resignation.

Although it is not impossible to fire a federal employee, it is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, the process for firing a federal employee moves faster with more serious infractions.

Approximately 12 Federal Employees Get Fired Every Day

Federal employees can and do get fired, even if the process is usually long and difficult. Nearly 12 federal employees are terminated every day.

Fortunately, termination rarely comes “out of the blue,” so if you are a federal employee who is worried about your job, you will have ample time to protect your career.

If you are facing termination or another adverse action, put The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC on your side.

We have been representing federal employees for 30 years, and we can defend your rights and your career.

Whether you need to avoid or appeal a termination, we are here for you at (202) 350-3881 or online, so please do not hesitate to call or click today.