Inappropriate Comments

Although the Enlisted Performance Report is a record of an Airman's performance during the reporting period, there are some things we're not allowed to include in an EPR even if they did occur during the reporting period. The Air Force considers certain topics to be inappropriate for consideration in the performance evaluation process and prohibits them from being included in any OES/EES form.

Although it is permissable to include incidents of disciplinary action, only actions that resulted in punitive action can be documented. For example, you may not state that an Airman was recommended for an Article 15 or recommended for discharge if he ultimately was acquitted or did not receive one. You can however describe the behavior that led up to the recommendation (such as "Airman Smith was absent from his assigned place of work on six occasions in September 09"). If derogatory information like this is included, supporting paperwork (Letters of Counseling, etc) must exist.

The following guidance is current for what can be included in an EPR:

Per MPFM 07-44, Note 8:
When referring to adverse actions, state the behavior and results, i.e., 'SSgt Jones drove under the influence for which he received an Article 15'. Comments on awards are authorized. Comment on John Levitow, Distinguished Graduate, Academic Achievement or Commandant's Award from PME are authorized. Comments from other training courses are also appropriate and may be made by any evaluator on the report.

Ref AFI 36-2406, para 3.7:
Certain items are inappropriate for consideration in the performance evaluation process and may not be commented upon on any OES/EES form. Except as authorized in the following paragraphs, do not consider, refer to, or include comments regarding:

3.7.1. Promotion recommendations for officers, except on the PRF; recommendations are limited to the next higher grade. NOTE: Statements acknowledging an officer's selection for promotion during the reporting period are acceptable (Example: Maj XXXXX's recent BPZ selection to Lt Col is right on target).

3.7.2. Duty history or performance outside the current reporting period on OPRs/EPRs, except as permitted by paragraphs 3.7.6. and 3.7.7. Since performance in past jobs is relevant, raters may include it on PRFs.

3.7.3. Previous reports or ratings, except in conjunction with performance feedback sessions and as outlined in Chapter 8 for promotion recommendation. EXCEPTION: Evaluators may review previous evaluation reports to prevent repeating prior accomplishments and making inappropriate recommendations.

3.7.4. Performance feedback. Evaluators do not refer to performance feedback sessions in any area of the performance report except in the Performance Feedback Certification Block.

3.7.5. Events that occur after the close-out date. If an incident or event occurs between the time an annual report closes and the time it becomes a matter of record that is of such serious significance that inclusion in that report is warranted, an extension of the close-out date must be requested. This includes completion of an investigation begun prior to the close-out date or confirmation of behavior that was only alleged as of the close-out date. The authority to extend a close-out date for lieutenant colonel and below is retained by HQ AFPC/DPPPEP (ANG/MPP for ANG personnel; HQ AFRC/DP for USAFR unit personnel; and HQ ARPC/DPP for IMAs and participating individual Reservists. The authority to extend close-out dates for AGR personnel is the HQs to which they are assigned). AFGOMO (for EAD general officers) and NGB-GO (for non-EAD ANGUS general officers) retains similar authority on AF Form 78. AFCMO retains authority on OPRs for colonels. Extensions will be granted to cover only the time necessary to complete actions, not to exceed 59 days; a commander- directed report may be prepared with 60 days supervision (Table 3.3., rule 3, and Table 3.7., rule 5). Send requests for extension, through the servicing MPF, to the appropriate office above for approval (with info to the MAJCOM). This should be done in a timely manner. Include member's information, reason for the report, original close-out date, requested close-out date, specific justification for the request, and all pertinent information (dates of investigations, etc.). 28 AFI36-2406 15 APRIL 2005

3.7.6. Prior events. Do not include comments regarding events which occurred in a previous reporting period, unless the events add significantly to the evaluation report, were not known to and considered by the previous evaluators, and were not previously reflected in an evaluation report. For example, an event (positive or negative) which came to light after a report became a matter of record, but which occurred during the period of that report, could be mentioned in the ratee's next report because the incident was not previously reported. In rare cases, serious offenses (such as those punishable by court martial) may not come to light or be substantiated for several years. In those cases, inclusion of that information may be appropriate even though the incident/behavior occurred prior to the last reporting period. Additionally, negative incidents from previous reporting periods involving the character, conduct, or integrity of the ratee that continue to influence the performance or utilization of the ratee may be commented upon in that context only. Commanders and senior raters make the determination of what constitutes a significant addition.

3.7.7. Conduct based on unreliable information. Raters must ensure that information relied upon to document performance, especially derogatory information relating to unsatisfactory behavior or misconduct, is reliable and supported by substantial evidence. The rater should consult with the servicing staff judge advocate whenever any question exists whether this standard has been met. Raters should be particularly cautious about referring to charges preferred, investigations, or boards of inquiry (such as accident investigation boards), or using information obtained from those sources, or any similar actions related to a member, that are not complete as of the close-out date of the report. When it is determined that such conduct is appropriate for comment, refer to the underlying performance, behavior or misconduct itself and not merely to the fact that the conduct may have resulted in a punitive or administrative action taken against the member, such as a letter of reprimand, Article 15, court-martial conviction, etc. If an extension to the close-out date might be warranted to determine if reliable information of unsatisfactory performance or misconduct has been established, refer to paragraph 3.7.5.

3.7.8. Any action against an individual that resulted in acquittal or a failure to successfully implement an intended personnel action (for example, you may not say SSgt Johnson was acquitted of assault charges or that involuntary separation action was unsuccessful). This does not mean, however, that evaluators cannot mention the underlying conduct that formed the basis for the action. A determination as to the appropriateness of doing so should be made only after consultation with the servicing staff judge advocate. The decision to include such information should be made only when evaluators can establish that the information is reliable and supported by substantial evidence. In any case, do not reference any punitive or administrative action taken against the individual in response to the conduct.

3.7.9. Confidential statements, testimony, or data obtained by, or presented to, boards under AFI 91-204, Safety Investigations and Reports.

3.7.10. Actions taken by an individual outside the normal chain of command that represent guaranteed rights of appeal. EXAMPLE: Inspector General, Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records, EOT complaints, and Congressional Inquiry.

3.7.11. A recommendation for decoration. You may include only those decorations actually approved or presented during the reporting period. The term decorations, as used here, applies to those for which a medal is awarded and worn on the Air Force uniform, such as an Air Force Achievement Medal. You may mention other awards or nominations for honors and awards such as "Outstanding Maintenance Officer" or Twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

3.7.12. Race, ethnic origin, gender, age, or religion of the ratee. Do not refer to these items in such a way that others could interpret the comments as reflecting favorably or unfavorably on the person. This is not meant to prohibit evaluators from commenting on involvement in cultural or church activities, but cautions against the use of specific religious denominations, etc. For example, 'Capt XXXX is the first female pilot ever selected for training in the F-16', is an inappropriate reference to gender. You may use pronouns reflecting gender (e.g., he, she, him, her, his, and hers).

3.7.13. Temporary or permanent disqualification under AFI 36-2104, Nuclear Weapons Personnel Reliability Program. You may reference the behavior of the ratee that resulted in the action.

3.7.14. Drug or alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs. Focus on the behavior, conduct, or performance resulting from alcohol or drug use versus the actual consumption of alcohol or drugs or participation in a rehabilitation program.. Only competent medical authorities may diagnose alcoholism or drug addiction.

3.7.15. Score data on the WAPS score notice or senior NCO promotion score notice, board scores, test scores, etc.

3.7.16. Performance as a member of a court-martial board, or render a less than favorable evaluation because of the zeal with which the ratee served as a defense or respondent's counsel (see Article 37, UCMJ). This is not intended to inhibit an accurate portrayal of a counsel's competence in the representation of clients.

3.7.17. Family activities or marital status. Do not consider or include information (either positive or negative) regarding the member's marital status or the employment, education, or volunteer service activities (on or off the military installation) of the member's family.

3.7.18. The term 'senior' on OPRs. This term is commonly understood as a euphemism for colonels and above, or to refer to members holding a higher grade than the ratee. When used in conjunction with words such as officer or leadership, the phrase constitutes an implied promotion statement and is therefore prohibited.

3.7.19. General open mess membership.

3.7.20. Broad statements outside the scope of the evaluator's responsibility or knowledge. A broad statement is one which implies knowledge of Air Force members not assigned within the evaluator's realm of knowledge. For example, a group commander may not state the ratee is 'the best civil engineer in the business' because he or she does not have knowledge of all civil engineers. Similarly, phrases such as 'top 5% officer' or 'clearly a top 1% SNCO' are inappropriate because the evaluator does not have first-hand knowledge of all Air Force officers or SNCOs. Broad statements such as these clearly lack credibility. EXCEPTION: It would be permissible for an evaluator to make such a statement if substantiated by an award, such as 'Best comptroller in the Air Force--received the 1998 Air Force Financial Manager of the Year Award.' Other examples of acceptable statements are 'number one of my seven captains' and 'top 1% of all SNCOs I've ever supervised.'

3.7.21. Grades or positions higher than the ratee holds. Evaluators may not make comments such as 'picked over higher ranking officers' or (on a major's report) 'filling a Lt Col billet.' These types of comments are implied promotion statements and are therefore prohibited on OPRs.

3.7.22. Assignment and PME recommendations on OPRs that are inconsistent with an officer's current grade. The intent and philosophy of OES is to recommend an officer for assignments/positions and resident level of PME that reflect his or her potential and are appropriate for the current grade held. Evaluators may make one or more assignment recommendations in OPRs provided the recommendations are both appropriate and realistically achievable for the officer's current grade. In addition to assignment recommendations, evaluators may also make recommendations for the appropriate level in-residence PME in OPRs. Evaluators determine the appropriate level recommendation by considering the highest level in-residence PME the officer has already completed along with the eligibility criteria for each level of in-residence PME. Examples: For lieutenant through captain, a Squadron Officer School (SOS) recommendation is appropriate until the officer has completed SOS in residence. For a captain, once he or she completes SOS in residence, an Intermediate Service School (ISS) recommendation is appropriate. For a major, if, as of the close date of the OPR, he or she has not already completed ISS in residence and is still eligible for consideration, an ISS recommendation is appropriate. Once the major completes ISS in residence or when he or she is no longer eligible for consideration, then a Senior Service School (SSS) recommendation is appropriate.

3.7.23. An officer's decision to accept or decline aviator continuation pay. NOTE: For AF Form 709 purposes, senior raters and MLR members will consider or refer only to the officer's Record of Performance (ROP), PIF, UIF, Duty Qualification History Brief (DQHB), and conduct and performance based on the senior rater's personal knowledge or other reliable sources of information.

3.7.24. Separation or retirement status. Comments may be warranted when an individual displays a reluctance to accept responsibility, a negative attitude toward the job, or exhibits a decrease in performance that can be reasonably attributed to a pending separation or retirement.

3.7.25. Comments about civilian occupation (USAFR members), unless it directly relates to the military position and enhances their military performance.

3.7.26. Use of profanity in evaluation reports is unprofessional, unnecessary, inappropriate and prohibited.

3.7.27. Punishment received as a result of administrative or judicial action. Restrict comments to the conduct/behavior that resulted in the punishment, and if desired, the type of administrative or judicial action taken (i.e. Article 15, LOR, LOC, etc.).

3.7.28. Matrices, fact sheets, background sheets or other documents unless specifically authorized in this instruction (see paragraphs 3.8.2. and 3.8.3.). Additionally, do not establish panels or boards to review and collectively score, rate, rank, or tally records and/or generate a priority list of SNCOs for determining promotion recommendations or level of endorsement (see paragraph for officers).

3.7.29. Developmental Education (in residence or non-residence) and advanced academic education for officers: When preparing OPRs, evaluators will not comment on selection status on the schools list, selection list, selection for, completion of, or enrollment in development education or advance academic education. When preparing PRFs, Senior Raters may only comment on officially recognized extraordinary achievements documented in the AF IMT 475 (Training Report) (such as distinguished graduate, cum laude, speech/writing awards, Commandant's Award, etc.). When stratifying officers on OPRs and PRFs, evaluators will not consider completion/non completion of non-resident DE if the officer is on the school select list (because they will attend in-residence), or their Select/Can didate status. Relative ranking among officers rated by the rating chain should be based on overall performance. This paragraph does not preclude raters from making appropriate assignment and developmental education recommendations on OPRs/PRFs as outlined in paragraph 3.7.22.

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