Prohibited Personnel Actions

The Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal agency with the authority to address, among other matters, complaints of prohibited personnel practices. A prohibited personnel practice, as defined by 5 United StatesC. 2302, is a personnel action taken for a prohibited reason. Prohibited actions include:

  • Discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, or religion
  • Discrimination on the basis of individual conduct unrelated to work requirements, suitability, or fitness
  • Use of a recommendation for personnel action when the recommendation is not based on personal knowledge or an evaluation of job-related factors
  • Coercion to participate in political activity and/or reprisal for the individual’s refusal to engage in the political activity
  • Obstruction of or deception with respect to an individual’s right to compete for employment
  • Improvement or impairment of an individual’s employment prospects by inducing another to withdraw from competition for a position
  • Improvement or impairment of an individual’s employment prospects by granting an advantage or preference unauthorized by law, rule, or regulation
  • Nepotism
  • Reprisal against whistleblowers, as defined by statute
  • Reprisal against individuals who exercise appeal rights, testify for or assist others in covered appeals, cooperate with or disclose information to an Inspector General or to the Special Counsel, or refuse to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law
  • Actions that violate rules or regulations implementing or concerning merit system principles identified in 5 United StatesC. 2301

If you believe you have been the victim of one of the above prohibited personnel practices, you may have a right to file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. Potential avenues to redress being the victim of a prohibited personnel practice include, in the simplest form, a letter from your attorney insisting that the practice cease and desist. In the alternative, grievances or complaints to OSC may be the recommended course of action. Contact us to review how Avery Dooley & Noone attorneys can assist you in determining the appropriate course of action and assist in presenting your claims to the OSC for investigation and prosecution.