3 FAM 7720


(CT:PER-1002;   06-29-2020)
(Office of Origin:  GTM/OE)


(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. The agency heads at each mission are responsible for developing uniform policies governing the discipline of the locally employed (LE) staff of their agency.  In no case should discipline be arbitrary or capricious.

b. A supervisor or other management official who is aware of misconduct that may serve as grounds for disciplinary action against an employee is responsible for taking action or reporting such incidents or allegations.


(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. Misconduct is generally a failure of LE staff to follow a workplace rule or acceptable standards of behavior. LE staff are expected not only to follow Mission policies but also applicable laws and regulations.

b. Although conduct and performance are frequently interrelated, there are differences.  Performance is an employee’s execution of assigned job duties, whereas conduct refers to an individual’s demonstrated attitudes and behavior.  Misconduct is generally a failure to follow a workplace rule or standard/norm of acceptable behavior.  Poor performance and poor conduct can coincide, but it is important to recognize the differences

c.  Instances of misconduct should be reported to management.


3 FAM 7723.1  Overview

(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. The disciplinary process can range from an informal admonishment by the supervisor to a formal discipline action by HR, either via a reprimand letter, suspension, or separation.

b. The discipline proposed and the process followed for effecting such discipline should be consistent with local law.

c.  The disciplinary action taken should be consistent with the precept of like penalties for similar offenses with mitigating or aggravating circumstances taken into consideration and should seek to correct, if possible, unacceptable conduct.

d. In most cases, post should follow progressive discipline, but, to the extent consistent with local law, there may be situations where progressive discipline is not appropriate.

3 FAM 7723.2  Forms of Discipline

(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. Informal DisciplineInformal disciplinary actions are not documented in the employee's Official Personnel File (OPF) and include:

(1)  Oral admonishment:  An oral warning or caution to an employee that conduct is not acceptable; and

(2)  Written admonishment:  A written warning or caution to an employee that conduct is not acceptable.

Although informal discipline is not included in the OPF, it should be documented by the supervisor.

b. Formal Discipline:  Formal disciplinary actions will be documented in the employee’s Official Personnel File (OPF) and may include, to the extent consistent with local law:

(1)  Written reprimand:  A reprimand is a written rebuke, censure, or registration of disapproval that a specific action or actions by the employee is not acceptable.  The letter of reprimand must contain full particulars of the matter for which the employee is being reprimanded.  The written reprimand remains in the OPF for the duration of time specified in post's policy, as consistent with local law requirements.

(2)  Suspension:  Placement of an employee in a temporary nonduty and nonpay status for disciplinary reasons.  Post should ensure that placing an employee in this status is consistent with local law.  If it is not, post should not use this form of discipline.  Personnel action must be processed to document suspension and remains in OPF.

(3)  Separation for Cause:  See 3 FAM 7730.

To the extent consistent with local labor law, formal disciplinary action may affect the employee’s employment status for a specified period of time.  For example, the employee may be subject to a 12-month prohibition on promotions or awards.

3 FAM 7723.3  Taking Disciplinary Action

(CT:PER-1002;   06-29-2020)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. Post should take appropriate steps, consistent with local law and Department policy, to address misconduct and review reports or allegations of misconduct that could provide a basis for disciplinary action.

b. If a management official has doubts about how to proceed, he or she should contact the Office of Overseas Employment in the Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM/OE).

3 FAM 7723.4  Discipline and Personnel Records

(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. All formal disciplinary actions must be documented in the employee’s Official Personnel File (OPF).  All documents HR places into the OPF become a part of the employee's record for the duration of time specified in post's policy as consistent with local law requirements.

b. LE Staff have the right to grieve disciplinary actions to Mission management without fear of reprisal or retribution. Unless inconsistent with local law, filing a grievance does not stop or delay any HR action that may be the subject matter of the grievance (e.g., suspension).


(CT:PER-956;   08-23-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture)
(Applies to Locally Employed Staff Only)

a. The following table of offenses is not all-inclusive but is intended to provide guidance to employees about the type of behavior that is unacceptable in the workplace.  Please be aware that inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct not included in this table or in applicable post policy may still provide grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

b. Disciplinary action for misconduct must be consistent with local law and any penalty should be proportional to the offense.  Post should also keep in mind that local law may set out time periods for taking disciplinary action.  In a number of the examples below, the table of offenses demonstrates degrees of misconduct under the same general category, and the degree of misconduct should be considered when determining the severity of a penalty.


1. Attendance/Abuse of Leave

Unauthorized absences, including repeated tardiness, leaving the job site without permission, repeated absence without advance leave approval; unsubstantiated sick leave or refusal to adhere to leave restrictions.

Abandonment of duty.  Complete failure to report to duty or contact a supervisor explaining the absence.

2. Loafing or Sleeping on Duty

Idleness when duties have been assigned; sleeping at the job site during duty hours; unauthorized activities during duty hours.

3. Careless Workmanship or Negligence

Failure to properly apply job knowledge and skills; indifference to the quality of work; inattention to the accuracy of work; waste of materials and/or delays in meeting deadlines.

Covering up or attempting to conceal defective work when spoilage or waste of materials is significant.

4. Failure to Observe Safety Regulations

Failure to observe safety practices and regulations when danger to persons and property is minor or nonexistent; failure to report injury and/or accident to self or to property within 24 hours; using makeshifts in lieu of tools or equipment where persons are exposed to possible injury.

Failure to observe safety practices and regulations where safety of persons or property is endangered.

5. Wrongful Operation of Government-Owned Vehicles (GOV) (6 FAM 1940, 14 FAM 430)

Operating an official vehicle in an improper, illegal or dangerous manner; failing to comply with Department and post policies for driving official vehicles; causing damage to official vehicles through abuse or neglect of the vehicle.

Failure to report an accident involving an official vehicle; use or authorizing use of government-owned vehicles for other than official purposes; conviction of operating a government-owned motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or narcotics; suspension or revocation of driver’s license when such is a requirement of the job; or failure to notify supervisors of any of the above infractions within 3 business days.

6. Loss of, Damage to, Unauthorized Use of, or Willful Destruction of U.S. Government Property, Records, Information or Property of Other Employees

Loss or damage of small value when no willfulness or intent was involved.

Willfulness, intent or unauthorized use is involved or when loss or damage is significant.

7. Information Security Infraction (12 FAM 500)

Sharing PC user access passwords; attempting to obtain unauthorized access to a data file or folder; intentionally visiting improper internet sites or services.

Deliberately introducing malicious program code; deliberately installing unauthorized software; connecting prohibited hardware or electronic devices; achieving or granting unauthorized administrator-level access; defeating or attempting to defeat U.S. Government security measures; in any way undermining the system manager’s ability to assign and monitor cryptographic and digital signature functions.

8. Misuse of Social Media (5 FAM 790)

Use of U.S. Government seals in personal social media activities; failing to include an explicit disclaimer on writings or materials of official concern.

Violating ethics rules, such as those prohibiting the use of public office for private gain or the disclosure of nonpublic information; discussing internal agency policy and/or procedures.

Claiming to represent the U.S. Government or its policies; posting PII of other mission employees; making defamatory statements about the U.S. Government or its employees, contractors, or contacts.

9. Violation of Security Regulations

When the breach does not result in release of security/sensitive information to unauthorized sources and there is no evidence of compromise of sensitive or classified information.

When violation is deliberate or when there has been unauthorized release or compromise of sensitive or classified information.

10. False Statements / Misrepresentation or Misuse of Information

When there is evidence of lack of understanding of requirements and there is no personal gain.

Deliberate misrepresentation or dishonesty in official matters; fraud; falsification; deliberate concealment of a material fact in connection with matters; use of official information for personal gain (including gain by family or friend).

Defamation – knowingly making false, malicious or unauthorized disclosures against other employees, supervisors or damaging the reputation, authority or official standing of colleagues.

11. Insubordination

Deliberate delay, refusal or other failure to carry out assigned work or instructions in a reasonable period of time to a satisfactory result.

A general pattern of refusing to obey the supervisor’s legitimate instructions showing disrespect, insolence, or rudeness to superiors.

12. Gambling

Participation in gambling on duty or during working hours; use of U.S. Government equipment or resources for gambling.

13. Theft

Actual or attempted theft of U.S. Government property or property of others.

14. Use of Intoxicants (3 FAM 7224.2-6)

Use of or possession of intoxicants while on duty, regardless of whether the substance may be legal in country.

Reporting for duty while under the influence of intoxicants so as to be unable to effectively perform assigned duties or to be a hazard to self or others.

Possession, selling or otherwise distributing illegal drugs or narcotics.

15. Workplace Abuse / Bullying

Conduct creating a work environment that is hostile, intimidating or abusive; behavior toward others that a reasonable person would consider humiliating, intimidating, exclusionary, retaliatory, or threatening.

16. Disorderly Conduct/Violence in the Workplace

Rude, boisterous activity that adversely affects performance and/or an orderly workplace environment; use of disrespectful, abusive or offensive language, quarreling or inciting to quarrel.

Fighting, threatening or inflicting bodily harm; physical resistance to known authority; violent acts or language; indecent or immoral conduct that adversely affects performance and/or an orderly workplace environment.

17. Weapons Possession

Possession of unauthorized firearm or other weapons (guns, knives, biological agents, explosive materials, and other such devices) on U.S. Government property.

18.  Prohibition Against Striking (3 FAM 7224.2-5)

Striking, including sit-ins or any other type of work stoppage, against the U.S. Government, including any agency or other U.S. Government entity.

19. Violation of Equality Principles

Discriminating against another based on their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or gender identity), national origin, age, or disability.

20. Prohibited or Unethical Activities

Failure to comply with U.S. Government laws governing employee conduct, including Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch in 5 CFR 2635, the Conflict of Interest laws in Chapter 11 of Title 18 of the United States Code, the Financial Disclosure requirements in 5 CFR 2634, the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and 3 FAM 4120 (e.g., accepting gifts or favors from subordinates or contractors; giving gifts to those in higher position or position of authority with the intent to solicit or obtain preferential treatment, or influence a major decision; giving or accepting bribes; engaging in business activities without prior approval of COM.)

21. Failure to Honor Debts or Legal Obligations

Failure to honor debts or legal obligations acknowledged by the employee to be valid or the validity of which is supported by a court judgment.

Failure to comply with all tax obligations.

Failure to promptly resolve any debt/obligation that is the subject of a garnishment order.

22. Off Duty Misconduct

Misconduct which affects the ability of the employee to perform his/her job or adversely affects the interest of the United States at post.

23. Violation of Other Administrative Rules or Regulations