Are disciplinary actions, such as letters of warning, carried over once you are converted to permanent status from a term status position? Or are you afforded a clean slate?
Letters of warning (and letters of counseling) are not considered disciplinary actions. That being said, the purpose of a letter of warning is to inform employees of what the agency’s rules and policies are on a given matter, and to inform the employee that if the rules are violated in the future, an actual disciplinary action could be taken. In the future, if you are accused of violating the same rules, your employing Agency will always be able to say that that you have been informed of the rules and that you knew you could be disciplined for failure to follow the rules in the future. That will be the case even if they do not actually keep a copy of the letter.
With that background, I should note that there is no government-wide policy on retention of non-disciplinary letters or warning or counseling, although your employing agency may have a policy on the matter. Although there is no government-wide policy, I suspect that most agencies will keep copies of warnings issued to you, at least for one or two years, even if you are converted from “term to perm.”
Records of actual disciplines, however, are another matter. Actual disciplinary records, like records of an employee’s suspension without pay, will always stay in your records even after a conversion from term to permanent status. Every personnel action against a civil service employee, including a term employee, is permanently recorded in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder (“OPF”).
This response is written by Michael S. Causey, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., a federal employment law firm.
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