Concept of Whole Person


I have never had a federal background check done before, I am quite new to all of this. I tried to look around the website prior to asking this question but could not find anything similar.
Here is my situation:
I was transferred from Office A to Office B. When I was working at Office A, profanity was pretty acceptable (crazy right?) as long as it was not used in front of clients and it did not target individuals, minorities, racists (although I heard this to), etc. I grew accustomed to hearing it everyday.
When I was transferred to Office B, I was not made aware of the office policies. While working at Office B, things got tense between the supervisor and employees. I thought to cheer people up or at least make them laugh to write a few jokes in an office away from the public. Unfortunately I used profanity. I did not target anyone, they were not racist, or sexually charged etc. None of the employees to my knowledge were offended as they all laughed along but of course some one was offended and reported it.
I accepted full responsibility. No investigation ensued. I apologized for my stupidity. This is/was the only dumb incident that has ever happened to me. Believe it or not, I was never reprimanded, no verbal, suspension, written reprimand etc. nothing! I was not allowed to work again in Office B.

I have had no drug, security, criminal issues, no mental issues, no late taxes or credit issues.
I had my interview with my BI and never mentioned it on the SF 86. But the more I think about it, should I have said something? Can I still say something? This occurred 2.5 years ago.

My references have been interviewed along with my neighbors. I have no idea if this has gone to adjudication. I am applying for a federal position requiring a secret clearance.

Thanks for any advice, help, recommendations! I appreciate it. No I will never tell another joke again especially using profane language.

No disciplinary action taken, no need to report.

Don’t create issues where none exist.


I am almost certain that my BI will contact my former place of employment & my former coworkers will talk about this incident even though more then 2 yrs have passed.

Wouldn’t my lack of judgement be viewed as a personal conduct issue?

If it is deemed a big enough concern, you will be re-contaced to explain.

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If no paper trail of the happenings were filed, you will be ok. They will investigate and talk to people related to the event at the work place.
I totally understand you. I had a similar situation.

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Thanks JamFed & Fed-investigator.
I guess my biggest concern is that the people at my former place of employment will speak to the BI about this and state information that is not true about me, such as being suspended for my foul language. I eventually voluntarily resigned (have paper work to show this).
It has been 2.5 yrs since it happened and my HR file has been archived. HR no longer has my file. My references were all contacted by the end of October.

@JamFed may i ask what happened in your case?

One thing I want to add is that you want everything to be out in the open when the investigator starts his or her job.

My situation was that my best friend and I at work were having a conversation about having kids because he was getting married. During the talk, we made fun of each other because of our background and religion. One young lady was listening to our chat and complained to HR. I was let go because of my position, and my friend received a write-up and quit the next month.

I was upfront with everything, and my investigator told me that the manager had said to him that I was a great guy and that I was re-hirable for the company. The investigator was confused that I sign no HR paperwork and that I didn’t have any other complaints on me, and that a Me Too movement mentality could have played a part in the reason in my case. Everything else was fine as far as I know.

If there was an issue, after being interviewed by your Investigator, you would have been confronted with this and allowed to answer to it and explain. It was never brought up, it’s not an issue. You are good to go…

Also, if this comes up in the course of the investigation, the investigator will schedule a contact with you where he will go directly to your employment section and ask you all the employment related questions again, allowing you the opportunity to disclose this to him. If this happens, you will know there is an issue. Just explain it. If this was to happen and you answered no in his requestioning, the investigator would then confront you with the info. Either way you will be afforded the opportunity to explain this if in fact it is a part of the investigation. You’re still good imo…

@JamFed sorry to hear that happened to you. Profanity was so prevalent at Office A you would think you were a sailor by the end of the day! When I was transferred to Office B, I seriously had no idea of the personal conduct policy. I was told to just report to the new office. Two different locations that were managed quite different.
@Defender66, I guess where I am confused is that so many people here on this forum disclosed far worse then just profanity and were upfront with their investigator. They were able to mitigate their issues at the adjudication level. (Thank goodness!)
I don’t want to be perceived as not being candid enough with my investigator or worse being accused of committing an ommission and failing the suitability part. Since the incident occurred awhile ago, does anyone feel that time may be considered?

I have no other issues on my file. I’ve always been professional with clients, co-workers and superiors.

I appreciate both of your insights. Thank you !


In taking no chances, I called my BI today (Nov. 20) and spoke to her about it. I did explain that I was never reprimanded for using the profane language therefore I answered “NO” on the SF 86.
She said that at this point she has closed her portion of the case for me. So far the other investigators have not said or reached out to her regarding anything. I know that by the end of October all my references were contacted.
Not sure if the other BI’s reached out to my former employer.
(This is for a Secret clearance with a Federal government non-IC and non 3 letter agency).

She mentioned that it would be too late to add anything to the SF86.
She stated that should it come up down the road, I will have a chance to explain what happened.
Below is a great link to read if you are wondering how work place language can/may have an affect on your personal conduct determination.

What you described does not fit the format of the questions on the SF86. However, it would likely fit the criteria of additional questions asked during your personal interview. Typically, you are generally asked about other workplace issues/difficulties/etc. This could certainly fit that criteria. The bottom line is that this won’t turn into an issue for you unless there is a record of it or someone tells an investigator about it. If that occurs, you will likely have another interview to discuss this.

Like I said, if someone thinks it is a cause for concern, you will be re-contacted.

Leave your poor, overworked and underpaid Investigator alone.

This made me chuckle

ugh…i didn’t want to be THAT person

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I did apologize to my BI for bothering her about this but I wanted to be certain.
I know she is quite busy and no i didn’t ask her how much longer this will take…

Hi FIknowledge,

Thank you FIKnowledge for your insight. I am sorry to be a bother here. I have never been through this process before. I only want to be honest about my mistake. I hope that if it does come up that a whole person concept will be applied to it.
I realize there are better ways to cheer people up.

They definitely use the whole person concept. For something like this, it is unlikely your integrity would really be questioned as it isn’t really a reprimand and difficulties at work is a very vague phrase that leaves itself open to subjectivity. If it comes up, just be honest about it. In my experience, this is a relatively minor concern. If you had workplace difficulties at several other employments then it might hold more weight, but I personally would not really sweat this based on what you disclosed here.

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I’m just joking with you.

Just relax, it will work out.

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Thanks fed-investigator! I could really use the humor!!

Don’t worry (-:
BIs appreciate sincere, honest people over those who try to muddy the waters. Fed’s comment just made me chuckle because of how the job can go sometimes. As much as I love it…(-: