Selecting Appropriate Action

Penalty Selection & Governing Criteria: The determination of which penalty to impose in a particular situation requires the application of responsible judgment. Disciplinary action taken is based on the conclusions that there is sufficient evidence available to support the reason(s) for action and that the disciplinary action is warranted and reasonable in terms of the circumstances which prompted it.

In determining the appropriate penalty, supervisors must observe the principle of "like penalties for like offenses in like circumstances." This means that penalties will be applied as consistently as possible.

The following pages provide the critical factors, often referred to as the 12 Douglas Factors, which should be considered in selecting the appropriate penalty. Supervisors should answer each factor that applies. Once the analysis is complete, the CPAC will provide in-depth advice regarding the procedures to follow in taking these actions.

Note: However, that employees serving a trial/probationary period are not necessarily subject to these considerations.


  • The nature and seriousness of the offense, and its relation to the employee's duties, position, and responsibilities, including whether the offense was intentional or technical or inadvertent, or was committed maliciously or for gain, or was frequently repeated.

  • The employee's job level and type of employment, including supervisory or fiduciary role, contacts with the public, and prominence of the position.

  • The employee's past disciplinary record.

  • The employee's past work record, including length of service, performance on the job, ability to get along with fellow workers, and dependability.

  • The effect of the offense upon the employee's ability to perform at a satisfactory level and its effect upon supervisors' confidence in the employee's ability to perform assigned duties.

  • The consistency of the penalty with those imposed upon other employees for the same or similar offenses in like or similar circumstances.

  • The consistency of the penalty with the DA Table of Penalties pertaining to various offenses.

  • The notoriety of the offense or its impact upon the reputation of the Department of the Army.

  • The clarity with which the employee was on notice of any rules that were violated in committing the offense, or had been warned about the conduct in question.

  • The potential for the employee's rehabilitation.

  • The mitigating circumstances surrounding the offense such as unusual job tensions, personality problems, mental impairment, harassment, or bad faith, malice or provocation on the part of others involved in the matter.

  • The adequacy and effectiveness of alternative sanctions to deter such conduct in the future by the employee or others.

Content last reviewed: 7/10/2009-RJL

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This page was last revised: 7/10/2009