Progressive discipline is the law, once more. On January 22, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14003 (January 22, 2021). Section 3 (c) provided: “Executive Order 13839 of May 25, 2018 (Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles), is hereby revoked.” Also see March 5, 2021 Memorandum Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rescinding past OPM guidance concerning EO 13839.
The pertinence to you, the federal employee, is that Executive Order 13839 of May 25, 2018, the EO being removed, provided at Section 2 (b) that: “Supervisors and deciding officials should not be required to use progressive discipline. The penalty for an instance of misconduct should be tailored to the facts and circumstances.” This meant an employee could be fired for a first offense without consideration of lesser discipline to improve or correct behavior.
Progressive discipline is the law, once more, that discipline should be applied to correct behavior, not to penalize. Any conflicting agency guidance is superseded by the Executive Order and OPM March 2021 guidance, and is likely to be updated to conform with the Executive Order.