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Prohibited Personnel Practices

By law, Federal employees may not:

  • Discriminate
  • Solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge or records of job related abilities or characteristics
  • Coerce the political activity of any person
  • Deceive or willfully obstruct any person from competing for employment
  • Influence any person to withdraw from job competition
  • Give an unauthorized preference or advantage to improve or injure the prospects of any particular person for employment
  • Engage in nepotism
  • Take or threaten to take a personnel action because of whistleblowing
  • Take or threaten to take a personnel action because of the exercise of a lawful appeal, complaint, or grievance right
  • Discriminate based on personal conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or other employees
  • Knowingly take or fail to take a personnel action in violation of veteran’s preference laws
  • Violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles
  • Implement or enforce any nondisclosure policy, form or agreement, if such does not contain the following statement: “These provisions are consistent with and do not supersede, conflict with, or otherwise alter the employee obligations, rights, or liabilities created by existing statute or Executive order relating to (1) classified information, (2) communications to Congress, (3) the reporting to an Inspector General of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or (4) any other whistleblower protection.  The definitions, requirements, obligations, rights, sanctions, and liabilities created by controlling Executive orders and statutory provisions are incorporated into this agreement and are controlling.”
  • Accessing the medical record of another employee or an applicant for employment as a part of, or otherwise in furtherance of, any conduct described in [the prohibited personnel practices identified above].

More information may be obtained from:

U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1700 M Street NW, Suite 218
Washington DC 20036-4505