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.
In a recent column I read that employees could not grieve being given a PIP. Could you please provide the legal reference for this?
Many federal agency administrative grievance procedures (non-union) and negotiated collective bargaining agreements (CBA) exclude performance improvement plans (PIP) as grievable matters. This is because PIPs are considered to be a preliminary step in addressing perceived performance deficiencies and have no actual impact on employment, even though the employee usually feels that way. It is only when management decides to take adverse action on the outcome of the PIP (i.e., a demotion or removal) that a grievance can be filed, though there may be a better route, such as an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). PIPs can be challenged in other ways, such as with an EEO complaint if there is a belief that it is part of a pattern of unlawful EEO discrimination or reprisal. You should, however, check your specific agency’s procedure or CBA, whichever is applicable, to see how PIPs are treated where you work.
Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.