Douglas Factors Law and Legal Definition

Douglas Factors are the twelve relevant factors established by the MSPB (Merit Systems Protection Board) to determine the appropriate penalty for employees of the federal government that consider the relationship or "nexus" between the misconduct and the efficiency of the service. [Douglas v. Veterans Administration, 5 MSPR 280 (at 305-6), 1981]

In essence, these factors are a tool to make sure that the “punishment fits the crime”. the 12 Douglas Factors are as follows:

1. The nature and seriousness of the offense, the relation of the offense to the employee’s duties, whether the offense was intentional or inadvertent, or whether or not the offense was committed for gain, with malice, or repeatedly.

2 The employee’s job level and type of employment – supervisory or fiduciary, contact with the public, prominence of the position;

3 The employee’s past disciplinary record

4 The employee’s work record: length of service, quality of performance, and dependability

5 The effect of the offense upon the employee’s ability to continuing performing at a satisfactory level, and the effect on the supervisor’s confidence in the employee after the misconduct;

6 The consistency of the penalty with those imposed upon other employees for the same or similar offenses.

7 Consistency of the penalty with the Agency’s Table of Penalties (if any)

8 The notoriety of the offense and the impact on the reputation of the Agency;

9 The clarity with which the employee was notice of the rules violated in committing the offense, including warnings about the conduct;

10 The potential for the employee’s rehabilitation

11 Mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense (unusual job tensions, personality conflicts, bad faith issues, mental impairment, harassment, etc)

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