For most federal employees, before your agency can take an action against you—such as suspension, demotion, or removal—it must give you a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action. Receiving a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action can be a daunting experience for any federal employee. This notice indicates that your agency is considering disciplinary measures due to alleged misconduct or performance issues. However, it’s important to remember that this notice is not the final decision and you have the right to respond. Here’s a detailed guide on how to effectively navigate this process.

Understanding the Notice

A Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action typically includes:

  1. Specific Allegations: Detailed descriptions of the alleged misconduct or performance issues.
  2. Proposed Discipline: The type of disciplinary action being considered (e.g., suspension, demotion, or removal).
  3. Evidence: Documentation and evidence supporting the allegations.
  4. Response Instructions: Guidelines on how and when you must respond.

Steps to Respond to a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action

1. Review the Notice Thoroughly

Carefully read through the notice to understand the specific allegations against you, the proposed disciplinary action, and the timeline for your response. Pay close attention to the evidence provided.

2. Gather Relevant Information

Collect all documents, emails, and other records that can support your case. This might include emails, memos, performance reviews, commendations, witness statements, or any other material that contradicts the allegations or provides context.

3. Consult with an Attorney

Consult with an attorney who specializes in federal employment law. They can provide valuable guidance and help you prepare a strong response. You should contact an attorney as soon as you receive the notice to ensure there will be sufficient time to prepare a detailed and effective response.

4. Prepare Your Written Response

Your response should be clear, concise, and well-organized. Generally, it should include corrections to any inaccurate factual allegations in the notice, a detailed explanation of the facts of the case and context of the events at issue, a legal argument rebutting the Agency’s proposed grounds for the action, and any mitigating circumstances that weigh against the proposed action. You should also include supporting documents and witness statements.

5. Submit Your Response on Time

Adhere strictly to the deadline provided in the notice. Late responses might not be considered, which could negatively impact your case.

6. Oral Response

For most Notices of Proposed Disciplinary Action, federal employees have a right to respond in writing and orally. Do both. Meet with the Deciding Official face-to-face to respond to the proposed action. This meeting is not a formal hearing but a chance to present your case directly to the Deciding Official. Prepare your points in advance and practice delivering them confidently and professionally.

7. Follow-Up if Appropriate

After submitting your response, keep track of any communications from your agency. If you receive any additional requests for information or a decision, respond promptly and keep records of all correspondence.


Responding to a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action is a critical opportunity to defend yourself and potentially prevent unjust disciplinary measures. By carefully preparing your response, consulting with an attorney, and adhering to procedural requirements, you can effectively present your case and protect your employment rights.

Understanding your rights and the appropriate procedures can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Stay informed, remain proactive, and seek professional assistance to navigate this challenging process successfully.

The attorneys of Bramnick Creed, LLC have a deep knowledge of federal employment law and extensive experience in representing federal employees. For more information about our federal employment practice or to contact us, go to our website at or contact Attorney Joe Creed at (301) 945-7800 or