Q & A Session – Failure to Follow Instructions


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


What constitutes a “failure to follow instructions?” If someone missed a marking on a container, could that be a “failure to follow instructions?”


It depends on whether noting the marking on a container was a part of the instructions. In the federal civil service, a charge such as “failure to follow instructions” may be proved by evidence of what the instructions stated along with evidence that the employee failed to do what was required. It requires no proof of intent. A more serious charge, such as insubordination, does require proof that the employee willfully failed to follow orders.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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