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Failure to Follow Instructions

Employees are expected to abide by all laws, regulations, policies, practices, and agreements, and readily respond to the direction of a supervisor.  An employee does not have the right to disregard an order from an authorized supervisor, simply because the supervisor is not in his or her chain of command.  Refusal to follow instructions adversely affects the efficiency of the service.  Therefore, addressing failure to follow instruction is a critical component of a supervisor’s responsibilities. 

An agency may take disciplinary action, up to and including removal, against an employee for failure to follow instructions if the employee was given proper instructions and s/he failed to follow the instructions.  An employee does not have the unfettered right to disregard an order merely because there is reason to believe that the order is not proper; he must first comply with the order and then register his complaint or grievance, except in certain limited circumstances where obedience would place the employee in a clearly dangerous situation, such as an order that violates a law, rule, or regulation. 

Supervisors should contact their servicing CG-124 Specialist regarding questions about setting clear instructions and taking appropriate administrative action when an employee fails to follow those instructions.  Supervisors should also refer to any applicable collective bargaining agreements for clarification on policies and procedures if they supervise bargaining unit employees.