DHS has said it will make disciplinary decisions on a more centralized basis, following an internal review spurred by several reports questioning the fairness and consistency of such decisions.
“Based on the results of that review, I have directed the Department to implement significant reforms to our employee misconduct discipline processes, including centralizing the decision-making process for disciplinary actions and overhauling agency policies regarding disciplinary penalties,” DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. “Centralizing disciplinary processes will ensure that allegations of serious misconduct are handled by a dedicated group of well-trained individuals, who are not the employees’ immediate supervisors, at each DHS component agency.”
“Reforming our policies regarding disciplinary penalties, including by providing more specific guidance, will promote accountability and ensure consequences are consistent and appropriate based on the severity of the misconduct,” he said.
The review followed reports that damaging findings had been removed from internal investigations into alleged domestic violence and sexual misconduct by DHS employees that was the topic of a hearing in the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Separately, that committee issued a report finding that many CBP agents who participated in employee-only social media accounts containing racist and sexist images and statements ultimately received softer discipline that was originally recommended — and that the penalties for similar instances of misconduct were inconsistent.