3 FAM 5300 

3 FAM 5310


(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(Office of Origin:  GTM/PC)


(CT:PER-662;   11-22-2011)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

These matters are addressed in 5 CFR 251, Agency Relationships with Organizations Representing Federal Employees and Other Organizations.


3 FAM 5312.1  Purpose

(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. This provision sets forth Department policy regarding the standards and procedures required to establish and maintain an employee organization (EO) in compliance with 5 CFR 251.

b. 5 CFR 251 provides the framework for Federal executive branch department consultation and communication with EOs representing Federal employees on matters related to agency operations and personnel management.

c.  The purposes of Departmental communication with EOs are to address personnel management and employee effectiveness; facilitate the exchange of information (e.g., ideas, opinions, and proposals); and inform policies that best serve employee interest in accomplishing the mission of the Department.

d. Department communication with EOs may not take on the character of negotiations or consultations regarding terms and conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees, which is reserved exclusively for labor organizations as provided for in 5 U.S.C. 7101 et seq. or comparable provisions of 22 USC 4101 et seq.  Further, management officials may not engage EOs to the extent that this may constitute representation exclusively assigned to a labor organization under 5 U.S.C. 7114(a)(2), or 22 U.S.C. 4113(b)(1), or otherwise attempt to bypass a union by soliciting information directly from bargaining unit employees who are members of an EO, as they are Non-labor Organizations (NLO). 

e. EOs may, but are not required to, consult with management as they may elect to form an organization simply as a way to network, host events, or conduct open forums. 

3 FAM 5312.2  Definitions

(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

Employee Organization (EO) is an NLO that the Department has recognized as meeting the requirement of being able to hold a productive dialogue with management regarding agency operations and employee engagement.  The Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Policy Coordination, Labor Management Unit (GTM/PC/LM) facilitates recognition and provides support to EOs, as set forth herein.

Labor organization (LO) is an organization as defined in 5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(4), which is in compliance with 5 U.S.C. 7120, or as defined in 22 U.S.C. 4102(11), which is in compliance with 22 U.S.C. 4117.  The recognized LOs in the Department of State are the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 1534, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), Local 1998, and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).

Mentor is a senior official who might agree to partner with an EO to provide guidance and advice on effective leadership.  Nothing precludes an EO from seeking such a resource. 

3 FAM 5313  department support AND ENGAGEMENT WITH Employee ORGANIZATIONS (EO)

(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. The Department may authorize creation of or continuation of an EO when such action would benefit the Department's programs or would be warranted as a service to employees who are members of the organization.  GTM/PC/LM makes a recommendation on whether to approve an EO to the Director General, who makes the final decision.

b. The mere provision of Department recognition does not constitute Federal sponsorship, sanction, or endorsement of the EO or its views and/or activities.  EOs may not engage in any activities that adversely reflect on the Department.  The activities, programs, products, or services of any EO must not be represented, directly or indirectly, as being official functions or activities of the Department.

c.  The description of and/or criteria for Department support are as follows:

(1)  Compliance with law and regulation.  Department support must comply with applicable law and Department policies;

(2)  Use of "Department of State" in EO name.  Use of "Department of State" or its logo may not be used to imply Federal sponsorship, sanction, or endorsement of the EO or its views and/or activities;

(3)  Use of Department resources.  Upon request, GTM/PC/LM may agree to the use of Department resources such as facilities or equipment, administrative support services, publications, and bulletin boards in accordance with appropriate regulations, such as Bureau of Administration regulations with respect to rooms and bulletin boards, as well as General Services Administration regulations contained in title 41 of the CFR, or any other applicable regulation.  Any such Department facilities and resources must be utilized during standard business hours unless otherwise approved by GTM/PC/LM;

(4)  Attendance at outside events.  For purposes of funding, the Department may use authorities under 5 U.S.C. 4109 and 5 U.S.C. 4110 implemented through 5 CFR 410, to pay expenses of employees to attend professional organizational meetings when attendance is for the purpose of employee development or directly concerned with agency functions or activities and the Department can benefit from such attendance.  A request for such funding must be submitted to GTM/PC/LM, which will coordinate as needed with the appropriate Department office with authority to decide whether to grant the request.  Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and the determination is not appealable.  All requests must be submitted by an EO no later than 4 weeks before the proposed event.  This provision is not a guarantee that the Department will provide such funding, and the Department expects that such funding would not be routine;

(5)  Attendance at EO meetings.  Employees are not granted administrative leave to attend EO-sponsored events and meetings.  However, managers and supervisors are encouraged to allow attendance at such events and meetings, consistent with applicable rules governing leave and hours of work, recognizing that the purpose of the organization is for the benefit of the Department and its employees.  Any concerns or issues related to such attendance should be directed to GTM/PC/LM;

(6)  Correspondence with Department principalsEOs that would like to submit correspondence to senior Department leaders or request any meeting with senior Department leaders, must prepare the correspondence and/or request for a meeting in accordance with the examples established by the Executive Secretariat.  EOs should submit their correspondence to GTM/PC/LM for processing.  GTM/PC/LM will obtain clearance and submit as appropriate;

(7)  Fundraising for EO-related activities.  While using or on Department property or on duty, an EO may (if first approved by GTM/PC/LM) raise funds only among their own members for organizational support or for the benefit of welfare funds for their members, so long as the fundraising adheres to Federal laws and regulations and any other relevant Departmental rules or policies, including the rules prohibiting gambling in the workplace (see, for example, 6 FAM 527); and

(8)  Funding for EOsNo funding will be provided to EOs except for the purpose of attendance at outside events as described herein.

3 FAM 5314  Establishment and maintenAnce of consultative relationship with Employee ORGANIZAtionS

(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. In order to establish and maintain recognition from the Department as an EO, EOs:

(1)  Must be a lawful, nonprofit organization whose governing documents (including charter and/or bylaws) indicate that it subscribes to minimum standards of fiscal responsibility and employs democratic principles in the nomination and election of officers.  An EO need not formally incorporate under State law or seek tax-exempt status from applicable tax authorities in order to comply with this requirement; they need only demonstrate they do not exist to make a profit.  Fiscal responsibility entails the following:

(a)  Regular updates on fiscal matters, if applicable, including updates on the organization's finances; and

(b)  An account established solely for the purposes of the EO if dues or funds are collected.  Dues, if collected, may only be collected from the organization’s members and must be used solely for the direct benefit of the organization’s members and/or activities;

(2)  Must not discriminate in terms of membership or treatment because of race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, genetic information, military service, political affiliation, marital status, or one’s involvement with legally protected activity (such as the EEO process or reporting prohibited personal practices or waste of public funds, violations of the law, or abuse of authority).  The organization must include such a policy statement in its governing documents; and

(3)  Must comply with all other applicable law and Department policy.

(4) Must have a proposed purpose that is not overly duplicative of an already authorized EO.

b. Only full-time Civil Service or Foreign Service employees or personal services contractors (PSCs) hired in the United States may hold officer positions or represent the group before Department management.  In addition, the majority of the membership of an EO must be full-time, permanent State Department Civil Service or Foreign Service employees.

c.  While EOs are not limited in membership to only Department employees, the Department will not take into consideration recommendations that primarily impact other government or private entities.

3 FAM 5315  Procedures for Establishment and Continued Recognition of Consultative Relationship with Employee ORGANIZations

(CT:PER-1085;   03-15-2022)
(State Only)
(Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. The following procedures apply to groups seeking to establish a consultative relationship with the Department as an EO:

(1)  A proposal to be recognized as an EO must be submitted to GTM/PC/LM for consideration.  GTM/PC/LM will consult with L/EMP in making a final recommendation to the Director General; and

(2)  A proposed EO must submit a written request that must include at least the name of the EO; a statement regarding why the organization believes an official consultative relationship should be established; an indication that representation in the organization is substantial enough to warrant the Department’s consideration of such a relationship; a list of the group’s current leadership; and a copy of the organization's proposed governing documents.

b. If necessary, GTM/PC/LM may request additional documentation and/or clarity on provided material.  Once the EO's proposal meets the required criteria for submission, GTM/PC/LM will submit a recommendation on the proposal to the Director General for a final determination.  Upon receiving the Director General’s decision, GTM/PC/LM will prepare a written response addressed to the organization indicating whether the request was approved or denied.  If denied, the reason therefor will be included in the response.  GTM/PC/LM will also provide a copy of the response to the Bureau of Administration, Office of Operations (A/OPR).

c.  Organizations that have been denied recognition may, at their discretion, restructure the documentation and submission to meet established criteria and resubmit that application.

d. EO governing documents must indicate how elections will be conducted and how often, including when elected positions are vacated.  GTM/PC/LM encourages EOs to resubmit updated and/or revised governing documents if there are significant and substantive changes made, and GTM/PC/LM may, as appropriate, require EOs to submit any updates to governing documents. 

e. EOs may be decertified either through self-determination or if it is determined by the Department that the organization no longer adheres to democratic principles, fiscal responsibility, and/or if the group no longer warrants recognition from the Department. GTM/PC/LM will reach out to recognized EOs on at least a biannual basis to ensure that the EO still exists and is in compliance with existing governing documents.

f.  Within six months of the publication of this FAM provision, all existing Employee Organization and Employee Affinity Groups recognized under previous iterations of 3 FAM 5300 will be required to reapply as an EO in accordance with these regulations.  GTM/PC/LM will be in contact with existing leadership of those groups for appropriate action.  Between the publication of this FAM provision and the six months that follow, EOs and EAGs shall be referred to as EOs