Ask the Lawyer: Applying the Douglas factors to ensure fair penalties

Debra Roth, Partner, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., wrote the article, "Applying the Douglas factors to ensure fair penalties" for the May 14th edition of Federal Times. Her article also appears on the Federal Times website under the "Ask the Lawyer" blog.


Read an exceprt of the article below:

Douglas v. Veterans Administration, 5 MSPR 280 (1981), is the seminal decision in which the Merit Systems Protection Board determined the 12 factors for determining whether the penalty imposed by an agency is appropriate under the circumstances. Douglas mandates that selection of an appropriate penalty be undertaken through a responsible balancing of all of the relevant factors present in an individual case. Of the 12, some of the factors generally considered in almost every case include the nature and seriousness of the offense, including whether the misconduct was intentional or was frequently repeated, an employee’s job level, past disciplinary record and past work record, including length of service, performance on the job and dependability, consistency of the penalty with those imposed upon other employees for similar conduct, and potential for rehabilitation. The MSPB acknowledges that individual cases may have mitigating or aggravating factors not found in cases of other employees who had engaged in similar conduct.


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