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Whistleblower Hotline

Whistleblower disclosures to the Office of Special Counsel must be made in writing to: Disclosure Unit Telephone: (800) 572-2249

U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, NW Suite 218
Washington , DC 20036-4505 

Prohibited Personnel Practices

Twelve prohibited personnel practices, including reprisal for whistleblowing, are defined by law at § 2302(b) of title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). A personnel action (such as an appointment, promotion, reassignment, or suspension) may need to be involved for a prohibited personnel practice to occur. Generally stated, § 2302(b) provides that a federal employee authorized to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action may not:

  1. Discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation;
  2. Solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge or records of job-related abilities or characteristics;
  3. Coerce the political activity of any person;
  4. Deceive or willfully obstruct anyone from competing for employment;
  5. Influence anyone to withdraw from competition for any position so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any other person;
  6. Give an unauthorized preference or advantage to anyone so as to improve or injure the employment prospects of any particular employee or applicant;
  7. Engage in nepotism (i.e., hire, promote, or advocate the hiring or promotion of relatives);
  8. Engage in reprisal for whistleblowing – i.e., take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of any disclosure of information by the employee or applicant that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety (if such disclosure is not barred by law and such information is not specifically required by Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs – if so restricted by law or Executive Order, the disclosure is only protected if made to the Special Counsel, the Inspector General, or comparable agency official);
  9. Take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action against an employee or applicant for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right; testifying for or assisting another in exercising such a right; cooperating with or disclosing information to the Special Counsel or to an Inspector General; or refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;
  10. Discriminate based on personal conduct which is not adverse to the on-the-job performance of an employee, applicant, or others; or
  11. Take or fail to take, recommend, or approve a personnel action if taking or failing to take such an action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; and
  12. Take or fail to take a personnel action, if taking or failing to take action would violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles at 5 U.S.C. § 2301.

From the Office of Special Counsel website: