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When disciplinary action is not consistently applied


A federal employee who is accused of misconduct at work may face an employee investigation, which may be followed by disciplinary action.

Disciplinary action could be something relatively minor, such as receiving a letter of counseling or a letter of reprimand. Or it could be serious, such as job loss or even criminal penalties.

It is worth noting that disciplinary action - whether seemingly minor or serious - should be taken seriously. Failing to take action for a "minor" issue now could result in much more serious penalties and repercussions down the road.

But what happens when an employer is unfairly enforcing disciplinary action? For example, a federal employer may assign harsher discipline to employees of a protected class, such as:

  • Women
  • Older workers
  • Workers of a certain ethnic background
  • Workers of a certain religion
  • Minorities

Employers can assign disciplinary action, but they must do it fairly. This means assigning appropriate action fairly among all employees who are being disciplined. Employers cannot assign harsher discipline to all women, for example.

When an employer unfairly targets employees of a certain race, gender or age, they can be held accountable. The employee may have legal recourse and be entitled to compensation.

Remember: It is advisable to fight any level of disciplinary action. Failure to act could result in serious job repercussions. A "minor" discipline now could later be used as an aggravating factor, which could result in removal.

Free consultation: If you have been unfairly disciplined as a federal employee, call a federal employment law attorney at 888-351-0424.

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