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HR Order DOJ1200.1: Part 2. Compensation: Chapter 2-15, Performance Management System for General Schedule and Prevailing Rate Employees (Dec. 10, 2003)

A. References.


5 U.S.C. chapter 43, subchapter I

Code of Federal Regulations

5 CFR Part 430, Subpart A
5 CFR Part 430, Subpart B


Department of Justice's OPM Approved Performance Appraisal System Description, April 2, 1996

DOJ Strategic Plan

DOJ Performance Plan

DOJ Performance Appraisal System Approval

Key terms

Appraisal system

Appraisal program

Rating of record

B. Policy.

  1. This order reflects a new, unified performance management system for use throughout the Department. The new approach is based on several guiding principles:
    1. Ensure that organizational and performance expectations held by the Department's senior leaders are communicated efficiently and effectively, at each level from the SES to the front-line workforce of the Department;
    2. Integrate individual performance management directly with other critical performance measurement initiatives in the Department, including the performance and budget process; and
    3. Create a performance management system that is simple, suitable for automation, consistent in terminology, yet flexible and appropriate to the variety of situations found across the Department.
  2. All performance management programs must be performance based and results-oriented. Performance standards must clearly state the human capital objectives of the component and tie in with organizational goals and desired results. The standards must include critical elements which align with the component's strategic plan and which are consistent with the DOJ Strategic Plan.
  3. Performance Appraisal System. Following are the parameters to be used in writing a performance appraisal program. This chapter incorporates the requirements of the Department's Performance Appraisal System Description, issued on April 2, 1996, which has been approved by OPM.
    1. System Coverage. All Department non-SES employees are covered. Exceptions from coverage include Administrative Law Judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105, and any other employee specifically excluded by statute. Immigration Judges and Board Members have been excluded by OPM pursuant to 5 C.F.R. 430.202(d). Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employees in the Personnel Management Demonstration Project described in section 102 of title I of division C of Public Law 105-277 (112 Stat. 2681-585) are excluded. Also, excluded are excepted service positions for which employment is not reasonably expected to exceed 120 days.
    2. Performance Appraisal Programs.
      1. Component heads will establish and approve one or more performance appraisal programs in accordance with the requirements in 5 U.S.C. chapter 43; 5 CFR Part 430, Subpart B; and this chapter. Employee performance plans are focused on achieving results, and the standards must be measurable, observable, and/or verifiable. Each program will specify the procedures and requirements for planning, monitoring, rating, and rewarding performance, including how elements and standards will be established and appraised and the pattern and method(s) for assigning summary levels. Supervisors will be held accountable in their performance plans for effective performance management practices. All programs under this system must require that employee performance plans align with organizational goals.
      2. A written description of each program must be approved, in writing, by the Director, Human Resources, Justice Management Division, prior to implementation. If a program includes attorneys, the Director, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) must, also, review and approve the program, in writing. All subsequent changes, also, must be approved in writing. Prior to such approval, a component's existing performance management program remains the component's approved performance appraisal program.
    3. System Requirements.
      1. Appraisal period. The length of each performance appraisal period will be one year.
      2. Summary levels. Each Department of Justice approved program will cite one of the following patterns of summary levels. The following patterns are available for use:


        Summary Levels

        1 2 3 4 5
        A X  


        B X   X   X
        C X   X X  
        E X   X X X
        H X X X X X

        Summary level 5 is "Outstanding."
        Summary level 4 is "Excellent."
        Summary level 3 is "Successful."
        Summary level 2 is "Minimally satisfactory."
        Summary level 1 is "Unacceptable."

      3. Performance elements. Each appraisal program will provide for establishing employee performance plans that include at least two critical elements and, where applicable, non-critical elements. An appraisal program that uses only two summary levels (pattern A) will not include non-critical elements.
      4. Mandatory Elements. The Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General may issue mandatory elements which components must include in employees' performance plans.
      5. Element appraisal levels. The minimum number of element appraisal levels is two. The maximum number of element appraisal levels is five.
      6. Performance standards. Each appraisal program will require that a performance standard must be established at the "successful" level and may be established at other levels.
      7. Minimum period of performance. Each appraisal program will establish a minimum period of performance that must be completed before a performance rating can be given. The Department's minimum period is 90 days.
      8. Progress review. At least one progress review must be done during the rating cycle and it must be documented with the signature of the supervisor and the employee and the date that it is done.
      9. Date for issuing a rating of record. It is strongly encouraged that ratings of record are completed within 60 days after the closing of the rating period.
    4. Additional requirements. Each appraisal program must:
      1. Specify the employees covered by the program;
      2. Specify an effective date;
      3. Specify that any administrative action initiated under a previous appraisal program shall continue to be processed in accordance with the law and that previous program (savings provision);
      4. Require review and approval at the next higher level of supervision above the immediate supervisor of all performance plans and of ratings of record;
      5. Require an interim rating when an employee is transferred or reassigned to the same type of work after having completed the minimum rating period and that the rating be considered in deriving the rating of record;
      6. Establish criteria and procedures to address employee performance for employees who are on detail assignments and or temporary promotions for 120 days or more, and, as needed, for other special circumstances;
      7. Specify that, consistent with 5 CFR 293.404, performance ratings and supporting documents will normally be retained for a period of four years; specify where the official employee performance file will be maintained;
      8. Require that performance plans be issued to employees normally within 30 days after the beginning of the appraisal period and when an employee changes his or her position;
      9. Be communicated to all covered employees, supervisors, and managers to ensure effective administration of the program;
      10. Provide for recognizing and rewarding employees' performance as warranted;
      11. Provide for assisting employees in improving unacceptable performance by giving training, counseling, etc. Failure to improve during the opportunity period may result in reassignment, reduction in grade, or removal; and
      12. Be evaluated periodically by the component to determine its effectiveness.

C. Documentation and Reporting

  1. Any performance programs approved prior to the issuance of this order must be amended to conform to this order.
  2. To the extent that there are collective bargaining agreements which are inconsistent with any requirements of this policy, the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement will take precedence until such time as the agreement expires.


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Updated December 21, 2018

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