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2 August 1991

(Consolidated Text)


effective 11 May 2010


To: Members of the staff
From: The Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management

1. The purpose of the present instruction is to provide guidelines and instructions on the application of chapter X of the Staff Rules, Disciplinary Measures and Procedures, and to outline the basic requirements of due process to be afforded a staff member against whom misconduct is alleged. Personnel directive PD/1/76 on disciplinary procedure for staff serving at offices away from Headquarters and Geneva, which addressed some of the matters dealt with in the present instruction, is hereby superseded.

2. Where there is reason to believe that a staff member has engaged in unsatisfactory conduct for which a disciplinary measure may be imposed, the head of office or responsible officer shall undertake an investigation. Staff rule 10.1 provides that ‘Failure by a staff member to comply with his or her obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules or other relevant administrative issuances, or to observe the standards of conduct expected of an international civil servant may amount to misconduct and may lead to the institution of the disciplinary process and the imposition of disciplinary measures for misconduct.’ Conduct for which disciplinary measures may be imposed includes, but is not limited to:


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(a) Acts or omissions in conflict with the general obligations of staff members set forth in article 1 of the Staff Regulations and the Staff Rules and instructions implementing it;
(b) Unlawful acts (e.g., theft, fraud, possession or sale of illegal substances, smuggling) on or off United Nations premises, and whether or not the staff member was officially on duty at the time;
(c) Misrepresentation, forgery or false certification in connection with any United Nations claim or benefit, including failure to disclose a fact material to that claim or benefit;
(d) Assault upon, harassment of, or threats to other staff members;
(e) Misuse of United Nations property, equipment or files, including electronic files;
(f) Misuse of office; abuse of authority; breach of confidentiality; abuse of United Nations privileges and immunities;
(g) Acts or behaviour that would discredit the United Nations.
3. If the investigation results in sufficient evidence indicating that the staff member engaged in wrongdoing that could amount to misconduct, the head of office or responsible officer should immediately report the matter to the Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Human Resources Management, giving a full account of the facts that are known and attaching documentary evidence, such as cheques, invoices, administrative forms, signed written statements by witnesses and any other document or record relevant to the alleged misconduct.
4. If the conduct appears to be of such a nature and of such gravity that administrative leave may be warranted, the head of office or responsible official shall make a recommendation to that effect, giving reasons. As a general principle, administrative leave may be contemplated if the conduct in question might pose a danger to other staff members or to the Organization, or if there is a risk of evidence being destroyed or concealed and if redeployment is not feasible.
5. On the basis of the evidence presented, the Assistant Secretary-General, on behalf of the Secretary-General, shall decide whether the matter should be pursued, and, if so, whether administrative leave is warranted. Administrative leave under staff rule 10.4 is normally with pay, unless the Secretary-General decides that exceptional circumstances warrant administrative leave without pay, in both cases without prejudice to the staff member's rights.
6. If the case is to be pursued, the appropriate official in the administration at headquarters duty stations, and the head of office or mission at duty stations away from headquarters, shall:
(a) Inform the staff member in writing of the allegations and his or her right to respond;
(b) Provide him or her with a copy of the documentary evidence of the alleged misconduct;
(c) Notify the staff member of his or her right to seek the assistance of counsel in his or her defense through the Office of Staff Legal Assistance, or from outside counsel at his or her own expense, and offer information on how to obtain such assistance.


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If the Secretary-General authorizes administrative leave, the staff member shall be informed of the reason for the administrative leave and its probable duration and shall surrender his or her grounds pass. A staff member on administrative leave may not enter United Nations premises without first requesting permission and shall be afforded the opportunity to enter, under escort, if necessary to prepare his or her defense or for any other valid reason.

7. The staff member should be given a specified time to answer the allegations and produce countervailing evidence, if any. The amount of time allowed shall take account of the seriousness and complexity of the matter. If more time is required, it shall be granted upon the staff member's written request for an extension, giving cogent reasons why he or she is unable to comply with the deadline. If no response is submitted within the time-limit, the matter shall nevertheless proceed.
8. The entire dossier is then submitted to the Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Human Resources Management. It shall consist of the documentation listed under subparagraphs 6 (a), (b) and (c) above, the staff member's reply and the evidence, if any that he or she has produced. In cases arising away from New York, the responsible official shall promptly forward the dossier to the Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Human Resources Management.

III. Application to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal
9. Upon consideration of the entire dossier, the Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Human Resources Management, on behalf of the Secretary-General shall proceed as follows:

(a) Decide that the disciplinary case should be closed, and immediately inform the staff member that the charges have been dropped and that no disciplinary action will be taken. The Assistant Secretary-General may, however, decide to impose one or more of the non-disciplinary measures indicated in staff rule 10.2 (b)(i) and (ii), where appropriate; or

(b) Should the preponderance of the evidence indicate that misconduct has occurred, recommend the imposition of one or more disciplinary measures.

Decisions on recommendations for the imposition of disciplinary measures shall be taken by the Under-Secretary-General for Management on behalf of the Secretary-General. The Office of Legal Affairs shall review recommendations for dismissal of staff under staff rule 10.2 (a)(ix). Staff members shall be notified of a decision to impose a disciplinary measure by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management.

10. A staff member against whom a disciplinary or a non-disciplinary measure has been imposed following the conclusion of the disciplinary process is not required to request a management evaluation, and may submit an application to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal in accordance with chapter XI of the Staff Rules. The submission of an application to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal contesting a disciplinary or non-disciplinary measure imposed following the conclusion of the disciplinary process shall be made within 90 calendar days of receiving notification of the decision. The filing of such an application shall not have the effect of suspending the measure.
1/ A special master is any staff member designated by the Committee to act on its behalf for this purpose.


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