Prohibited Personnel Practices

The Office of Special Counsel is the independent federal agency that investigates allegations of Prohibited Personnel Practices ​(PPP) and seeks appropriate corrective action.  The PPPs are a list of actions that federal employees are prohibited from engaging in by federal law.  Committing a PPP may lead to disciplinary action.  Please consult Your Rights as a Federal Employee for your rights and remedies regarding PPPs. 

The PPPs state that 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 personnel action in the violation of veteran's preference laws
  • Violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles
  • Implement or enforce a nondisclosure agreement or policy lacking notification of whistleblower rights
  • Access the medical record of an employee or applicant, as part of, or in furtherance of any of the above-listed prohibitions​​

Date last updated: 4/15/2020