Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter XVI-A. General Discipline and Grievances.


§ 1–616.51. Policy.

The District of Columbia government finds that a radical redesign of the adverse and corrective action system by replacing it with more positive approaches toward employee discipline is critical to achieving organizational effectiveness. To that end, the Mayor, the District of Columbia Board of Education, and the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia shall issue rules and regulations to establish a disciplinary system that includes:

(1) A provision that disciplinary actions may only be taken for cause;

(2) A definition of the causes for which a disciplinary action may be taken;

(3) Prior written notice of the grounds on which the action is proposed to be taken;

(4) Except as provided in paragraph (5) of this section, a written opportunity to be heard before the action becomes effective, unless the agency head finds that taking action prior to the exercise of such opportunity is necessary to protect the integrity of government operations, in which case an opportunity to be heard shall be afforded within a reasonable time after the action becomes effective; and

(5) An opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time after the action becomes effective when the agency head finds that taking action is necessary because the employee’s conduct threatens the integrity of government operations; constitutes an immediate hazard to the agency, to other District employees, or to the employee; or is detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 1651; as added June 10, 1998, D.C. Law 12-124, § 101(s), 45 DCR 2464.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-617.51.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-606.04, § 1-616.54, § 2-352.02, § 2-354.01, and § 2-359.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 2 of Reinstated Government Employee Review Emergency Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-27, March 1, 2011, 58 DCR 2585).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 19-6 added a section to read as follows:

“Sec. 2. Report on reinstatement of separated employees.

“(a) Within 120 days of the effective date of the Reinstated Government Employee Review Emergency Act of 2011, passed on emergency basis on February 15, 2011 (Enrolled version of Bill 19-112), the Mayor shall review the status of all separated District employees, since January 3, 2007, who have in their favor a current employee appeal decision for reinstatement to service by a statutorily recognized entity, including the Public Employee Relations Board, the Office of Employee Appeals, the Office of Administrative Hearings, and the courts of the District of Columbia.

“(b) After the review in subsection (a) of this section is completed, the Mayor shall have 45 days to issue a report to the Council on the status of each decision for reinstatement to service described in subsection (a) of this section, and the District’s plan for each employee who is to be reinstated.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 19-6 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect

Editor's Notes

Applicability of § 101(s) of D.C. Law 12-124: Section 401(a) of D.C. Law 12-124, as amended by § 60 of D.C. Law 12-264, provided that § 101(d), (k), (p), (s), and (x) of the act shall apply upon the enactment of legislation by the United States Congress that states the following: “Notwithstanding any other law, section 101(d), (k), (p), (s), and (x) of the Omnibus Personnel Reform Act of 1998, adopted by the Council of the District of Columbia is enacted into law.” Section 134 of Title I of Division C of Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-596, provided that “Notwithstanding any other law, sections 101(d), (k), (p), (s), and (x) of the Omnibus Personnel Reform Amendment Act of 1998, D.C. Law 12-124, effective June 11, 1998, are enacted into law.”

Construction of Law

Construction of Law 12-124

Section 301 of D.C. Law 12-124 provided that nothing in the act shall be construed as superseding the provisions of the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, approved August 5, 1997 (Public Law 105-33; 111 Stat. 712), except that § 47-395.04(b)(3) is expressly superseded. Further, nothing in the act shall be construed as superseding the provisions of § 47-391.01 et seq. or of § 164 of the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 1998, approved November 19, 1997 (Public Law 105-100; 111 Stat. 2160).


§ 1–616.52. Disciplinary grievances and appeals.

(a) An official reprimand or a suspension of less than 10 days may be contested as a grievance pursuant to § 1-616.53 except that the grievance must be filed within 10 days of receipt of the final decision on the reprimand or suspension.

(b) An appeal from a removal, a reduction in grade, or suspension of 10 days or more may be made to the Office of Employee Appeals. When, upon appeal, the action or decision by an agency is found to be unwarranted by the Office of Employee Appeals, the corrective or remedial action directed by the Office of Employee Appeals shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of subchapter VI of this chapter within 30 days of the OEA decision.

(c) A grievance pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or an appeal pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall not serve to delay the effective date of a decision by the agency.

(d) Any system of grievance resolution or review of adverse actions negotiated between the District and a labor organization shall take precedence over the procedures of this subchapter for employees in a bargaining unit represented by a labor organization. If an employee does not pay dues or a service fee to the labor organization, he or she shall pay all reasonable costs to the labor organization incurred in representing such employee.

(e) Matters covered under this subchapter that also fall within the coverage of a negotiated grievance procedure may, in the discretion of the aggrieved employee, be raised either pursuant to § 1-606.03, or the negotiated grievance procedure, but not both.

(f) An employee shall be deemed to have exercised their option pursuant to subsection (e) of this section to raise a matter either under the applicable statutory procedures or under the negotiated grievance procedure at such time as the employee timely files an appeal under this section or timely files a grievance in writing in accordance with the provision of the negotiated grievance procedure applicable to the parties, whichever event occurs first.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 1652; as added June 10, 1998, D.C. Law 12-124, § 101(s), 45 DCR 2464; Apr. 12, 2000, D.C. Law 13-91, § 108(b), 47 DCR 520.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-617.52.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-606.07, § 1-616.53, and § 1-616.54.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-91 validated previously made technical amendments in subsecs. (d) and (e).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of § 101(s) of D.C. Law 12-124: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-616.51.


§ 1–616.53. Grievances.

(a) The Mayor, the District of Columbia Board of Education, and the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia shall issue rules and regulations providing procedures for the prompt handling of grievances of employees and applicants for employment. The grievance system shall be made known to all employees and shall provide for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. The grievance system shall provide for the expeditious adjustment of grievances and complaints.

(b) Except when an employee is grieving a disciplinary action pursuant to § 1-616.52, no employee or applicant shall present a grievance pursuant to this section more than 45 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the date that the employee knew or should have known of the act or occurrence that is the subject of the grievance.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 1653; as added June 10, 1998, D.C. Law 12-124, § 101(s), 45 DCR 2464.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-617.53.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-603.01 and § 1-616.52.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of § 101(s) of D.C. Law 12-124: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-616.51.


§ 1–616.54. Administrative leave; enforced leave.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, a personnel authority may authorize the placing of an employee on annual leave or leave without pay, as provided in this section, if:

(1) A determination has been made that the employee utilized fraud in securing his or her appointment or that he or she falsified official records;

(2) The employee has been indicted on, arrested for, or convicted of a felony charge (including conviction following a plea of nolo contendere); or

(3) The employee has been indicted on, arrested for, or convicted of any crime (including conviction following a plea of nolo contendere) that bears a relationship to his or her position; except that no such relationship need be established between the crime and the employee’s position in the case of uniformed members of the Metropolitan Police Department or correctional officers in the D.C. Department of Corrections.

(b) Prior to placing an employee on enforced leave pursuant to this section, an employee shall initially be placed on administrative leave for a period of 5 work days, followed by enforced annual leave or, if no annual leave is available, leave without pay. The employee shall remain in this status until such time as an action in accordance with regulations issued pursuant to § 1-616.51, taken as a result of the event that caused this administrative action, is effected or a determination is made that no such action in accordance with regulations issued pursuant to § 1-616.51 will be taken.

(c) An employee to be placed on enforced leave shall be provided with a written notice proposing that action during the 5-day period of administrative leave. To ensure receipt within the 5-day period, the initial delivery of notice may be accomplished either in person or by reading the notice to the employee over the telephone prior to actual delivery of the written notice.

(d) A written notice issued pursuant to this section shall inform the employee of the following:

(1) The reasons for the proposed enforced leave;

(2) The beginning and ending dates of administrative leave;

(3) The beginning date of the proposed enforced leave;

(4) His or her right to respond, orally or in writing, or both, to the notice; and

(5) His or her right to be represented by an attorney or other representative.

(e) Within the 5-day administrative leave period, the employee’s explanation, if any, and statements of any witnesses shall be considered and a written decision shall be issued by the personnel authority.

(f) If a determination is made to place the employee on annual leave or leave without pay, the decision letter shall inform him or her of the placement on enforced leave, the date the leave is to commence, his or her right to grieve the action within 10 days of receipt of the written decision letter, and if the enforced leave lasts 10 or more days, his or her right to file an appeal with the Office of Employee Appeals within 30 days of the effective date of the appealed agency action.

(g) If the basis for placing an employee on enforced leave pursuant to this section does not result in the taking of a disciplinary action pursuant to § 1-616.52 (or, in the case of an incumbent of a statutory position, the employee is not disciplined or removed in accordance with the provisions of the statute establishing the position), any annual leave or pay lost as a result of this administrative action shall be restored retroactively.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 1654; as added June 10, 1998, D.C. Law 12-124, § 101(s), 45 DCR 2464; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-264, § 5(c), 46 DCR 2118; May 18, 2004, D.C. Law 15-162, § 2(b), 51 DCR 3628.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-617.54.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-162 rewrote subsec. (f) which had read as follows: “(f) If a determination is made to place the employee on annual leave or leave without pay, the decision letter shall inform him or her of the placement on enforced leave, the date the leave is to commence, and his or her right to grieve the action within 10 days of receipt of the written decision letter.”

Cross References

Merit system, effective date provisions, see § 1-636.02.

Merit system, organization for personnel management, rules and regulations, see § 1-604.04.

Washington Convention Center Authority, application of this subchapter, see § 10-1202.16.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of § 101(s) of D.C. Law 12-124: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 1-616.51.

Delegation of Authority

Delegations and sub-delegations of authority—Director of Personnel, Chief of Police, and Agency Heads—Rescission of Mayor’s Orders 80-78, 92-114, 99-79 and Deletion of Part I of Mayor’s Order 97-88, see Mayor’s Order 2000-83, May 30, 2000 ( 47 DCR 4956).