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Rating Performance

Rating of Record

  • By October 30 th the rating official reviews the performance of each employee, assigns a rating level to each performance element and assigns an overall summary rating
  • The rating assigned reflects the level of the employee’s performance as compared to the established standards, understanding that each and every criterion in the standard does not have to be met by the employee in absolute terms to assign a particular rating level
  • The rating official must write a narrative summary for each critical element assigned a rating of Exceptional (E), Minimally Successful (MS) or Unsatisfactory (U). In addition, all E, MS or U ratings must be reviewed and approved by a the employees second level supervisor prior to discussion of the rating with the employee
  • The rating official discusses the completed EPAP with the employee after all required approvals are obtained

Supplemental Comments

The employee may submit written supplemental comments to the overall rating of record, the element ratings and/or the narrative comments. For example the employee may want to provide information on noteworthy accomplishments that the rating official did not include. NOTE: THIS PROCESS MAY BE UTILIZED ONLY WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS NOT CONTESTING THE RATING RECEIVED ON A GIVEN ELEMENT, WHICH, IF CHANGED, WOULD AFFECT THE OUTCOME OF THE OVERALL RATING OF RECORD.

Reconsideration Process

When an employee has a concern about the rating received on a particular element, which if changed will affect the outcome of the rating of record, they may request a reconsideration of their rating through the Bureau’s reconsideration process. The reconsideration process consists of informal and formal procedures.

Informal Reconsideration Procedures

  • Whenever possible, the employee and rating official should informally attempt to resolve any disagreement about the performance appraisal and/or rating
  • An employee must discuss their dissatisfaction with the rating official before requesting a formal reconsideration unless the employee requests in writing to move directly to the formal stage
  • Informal discussion with rating official should take place within 7 calendar days of the employee’s receipt of the EPAP.
  • The rating official’s decision on the employees request for informal reconsideration must be communicated to the employee, either verbally or in writing, within 7 calendar days of the informal reconsideration discussion
  • IF agreement cannot be reached informally, the employee may request formal reconsideration of the rating through their Human Resources Office.

Formal Reconsideration Procedures

  • Within 7 calendar days of receipt of a decision on the informal reconsideration procedures the employee can submit a written request to their Human Resources Officer
  • The employee’s written request for formal reconsideration should include:
    • Employee organization and duty station;
    • Copy of the EPAP for which reconsideration is requested;
    • Area(s) or details of the EPAP for which reconsideration is requested;
    • State why employee believes the rating is in error, with supporting facts and documents;
    • State the action requested of the reconsideration official;
    • A copy of the written decision of the informal reconsideration by the rating official, or a written statement from the employee confirming the informal process was followed and the results, or a written request by the employee to move directly to the formal procedures; and
    • If applicable, the name, title, addresses, and telephone number of the employee’s designated representative. NOTE: Representative is at the employee’s expense.
  • The HR Office will review the employee’s formal request for reconsideration to determine if it is appropriate for acceptance. If it is not accepted, the request will be returned with an explanation of the reason(s) for non-acceptance. If the request is accepted it is referred to the reconsideration official (next level supervisor) within 14 calendar days of receipt in HR.
  • Review is limited to reconsideration of rating on critical element(s) that will impact the Rating of Record.
  • The reconsideration official is responsible for the following actions in considering an employee’s formal reconsideration request:
  • Reviewing all evidence/information submitted by the employee and/or rating official;
  • Consulting with the employee, the employee’s representative (if applicable), the rating official, and staff experts as appropriate;
  • Deciding whether to increase the summary rating or an element rating; remove or modify narrative comments, or leaving the summary rating, element rating(s), or narrative comments unchanged; and
  • Within 20 calendar days of receipt of the request for reconsideration, issuing a final written decision that includes documentation of the basis for the decision. The written decision is given to the employee and copy is filed with the EPAP in the Employee Performance File (EPF).
  • The written decision of the reconsideration official is final and becomes the employee’s official rating of record.
  • Reconsideration timeframes may be extended on a case-by-case basis upon mutual consent of the employee and rating official or reconsideration official, with concurrence of the Human Resources Office.

Rating Discussion with the Employee

  • The rating official should be prepared to have a thorough performance rating discussion, including tasks that were completed well and any area(s) that need improvement. Provide the employee with specific examples.
  • Discuss the rating in a private location (private office/conference room/etc); schedule uninterrupted time to discuss the rating.
  • Allow additional time for employee input, comments and/or questions.
  • Have employee sign and date the “Employee” block on the EPAP.
  • Ensure that you are discussing performance and not misconduct.

Prohibited Personnel Practices

Twelve prohibited personnel practices, including reprisal for whistleblowing, are defined by law at § 2302(b) of title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). A personnel action (such as an appointment, promotion, reassignment, or suspension) may need to be involved for a prohibited personnel practice to occur. Generally stated, § 2302(b) provides that a federal employee authorized to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action may not:

  1. Discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation;
  2. Solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge or records of job-related abilities or characteristics;
  3. Coerce the political activity of any person;
  4. Deceive or willfully obstruct anyone from competing for employment;
  5. Influence anyone to withdraw from competition for any position so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any other person;
  6. Give an unauthorized preference or advantage to anyone so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any particular employee or applicant;
  7. Engage in nepotism (i.e., hire, promote, or advocate the hiring or promotion of relatives);
  8. Engage in reprisal for whistleblowing – i.e., take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of any disclosure of information by the employee or applicant that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety (if such disclosure is not barred by law and such information is not specifically required by Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs – if so restricted by law or Executive Order, the disclosure is only protected if made to the Special Counsel, the Inspector General, or comparable agency official);
  9. Take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action against an employee or applicant for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right; testifying for or assisting another in exercising such a right; cooperating with or disclosing information to the Special Counsel or to an Inspector General; or refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;
  10. Discriminate based on personal conduct which is not adverse to the on-the-job performance of an employee, applicant, or others; or
  11. Take or fail to take, recommend, or approve a personnel action if taking or failing to take such an action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; and
  12. Ttake or fail to take a personnel action, if taking or failing to take action would violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles at 5 U.S.C. § 2301.

From the Office of Special Counsel website: