What Are Some Prohibited Personnel Practices for Federal Employers?

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The federal government has identified various prohibited personnel practices, or PPPs, that federal employers may not engage in when taking employment actions against employees and employee candidates. Employees who work for the federal government should familiarize themselves with the PPPs so that if they find they may have been subjected to one or more of these practices, they can take action to hold their federal employer responsible and seek relief for the losses they’ve suffered as a result.

What Are Some PPP for Employers?

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has identified 14 PPPs that the OSC has the authority to investigate and prosecute. These PPPs include:

  • Discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religious beliefs, sex, age, disability/handicap, political affiliation, or marital status.
  • Considering or requesting recommendations for hiring or promoting someone based on political influence or affiliation. Any recommendation for hiring or promotion must be based on personal knowledge of the candidate’s abilities.
  • Coercing the political activity of a federal employee, or retaliating against an employee who refuses to engage in political activity.
  • Intentionally deceiving or obstructing someone from competing for federal employment or promotion.
  • Influencing someone to withdraw from competition for hiring or promotion for the purpose of injuring or improving the employment prospects of any person. However, an applicant may be advised to withdraw for legitimate reasons, such as lack of sufficient qualifications or the availability of a better position.
  • Providing an unauthorized advantage with the purpose of improving or injuring the employment prospects of any candidate.
  • Engaging in nepotism, or the hiring or promotion of relatives, or advocating for the hiring or promotion of relatives.
  • Retaliating against a whistleblower.
  • Engaging in other types of retaliation, including retaliating for the filing of a complaint/grievance, testifying in a complaint/grievance proceeding, cooperating with investigations, or refusing to obey unlawful or unauthorized orders.
  • Discriminating against employees for any conduct or factor that does not adversely impact job performance, such as discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Violating veterans’ preference requirements.
  • Violating any law, regulation, or rule supporting the merit-based system.
  • Implementing or enforcing a non-disclosure policy or agreement that prohibits whistleblowing.
  • Accessing an employee’s or applicant’s medical records as part of conduct that violates another PPP.

What Should I Do If My Employer Violated PPPs?

If you believe that your federal employer has violated one or more of the PPPs when taking some employment action against you, you should first document everything you possibly can regarding your employer’s actions. This includes preserving any emails or written documents and taking contemporaneous notes about any phone calls or in-person conversations.

When you have evidence to substantiate your allegation that your employer violated the PPPs, you can bring your claim to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, or for claims involving discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability/handicap, you can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In addition, you should also speak to a federal employment lawyer as soon as possible about your legal rights.

How a Lawyer Could Help

A federal employment lawyer from the Vaughn Law Firm can help you pursue your claim with the OSC or the EEOC and pursue other legal processes to obtain relief from any harm you may have suffered from a PPP violation. This includes:

  • Assisting you with gathering and organizing documents and evidence you need to support your claim.
  • Assisting with filing your OSC or EEOC claims and representing you in your dealings with the agencies.
  • Pursuing your legal options for obtaining relief from the adverse impacts of a PPP violation, such as seeking reinstatement to your federal employment position and back pay.

Contact The Vaughn Law Firm

If you believe you have been targeted by prohibited personnel practices while working for the federal government, contact the Vaughn Law Firm today for a free, confidential consultation with our federal employment lawyers. We can help you to pursue the financial relief and accountability you deserve. Call us at (877) 615-9495 or connect with us online. We have offices in both Georgia and Washington, D.C., to best serve you.