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Why you should respond promptly to disciplinary action

When a federal employee is suspected of misconduct, the employer may launch an employee investigation. That investigation may be followed by disciplinary action.

For the employee, a lot is at stake. The employee could face administrative penalties (such as job loss) or criminal penalties.

When allegations against the employee are serious, the employee may choose to swiftly seek counsel from an attorney who represents federal employees in employment-related matters.

But what happens when the discipline is seemingly less serious? (For example, if the employee received a letter of counseling or letter of reprimand.)

Unfortunately, this seemingly “minor” issue could end up causing far worse problems down the road.

When an employee doesn’t contest the disciplinary action, the employer could use the minor issue against the employee later, when the employee is facing another disciplinary action. The employer could consider the first disciplinary action – even if it was minor – an aggravating factor, and the employee could end up losing his or her job or suffering other consequences.

What should employees do?

It is advisable to take an employee investigation seriously. It is very important to take disciplinary action seriously – even if the issue is seemingly minor.


The federal employer may be looking for an excuse to discipline or remove the employee. Previous disciplinary action may give the employer even more reason to take aggressive action against the employee now.

Whether you are the subject of disciplinary action for the first or second time, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about the matter.

Free consultation: Call 888-351-0424 to speak to a federal employment law attorney who represents clients nationwide.

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