The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices.
Download Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) Complaint Form (OSC-11). This form can also be used to
complain retaliation for whistleblowing.
The following practices are prohibited by the federal government agencies under the Prohibited
Personnel Practices (PPP) Act:
(1) discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin,
age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation;
Although OSC is authorized to investigate discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national
origin, age, or handicapping condition, as well as reprisal for filing an EEO complaint, OSC generally defers
such allegations to agency procedures established under regulations issued by the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 5 C.F.R. § 1810.1. (This deferral policy does not apply to discrimination
claims outside the jurisdiction of the EEOC, such as complaints alleging discrimination based upon marital
status or political affiliation.) (See https://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm#q10.)
Filing a complaint with OSC will not relieve you of the obligation to file a complaint with the agency’s EEO
office within the time prescribed by EEOC regulations (at 29 C.F.R. Part 1614).
(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);
In order to allege retaliation arising from whistleblowing, you must first blow the whistle--that is, you must
make the "disclosure" of agency's wrongful acts. See more on whistleblowing.
Download OSC-11 form: prohibited personnel practice complaint form or whistleblower
retaliation complaint form.
Download OSC-12 form: whistleblower disclosure form.
(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.
(Obtained from https://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm#q1)
OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of PPPs, with an emphasis on protecting federal government
whistleblowers. OSC seeks corrective action remedies (such as back pay and reinstatement), by negotiation or from
the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), for injuries suffered by whistleblowers and other complainants. OSC is
also authorized to file complaints at the MSPB to seek disciplinary action against individuals who commit PPPs.
All statements contained in this page are subject to change and update. EEO 21 does not take responsibility for any
errors or misrepresentation contained therein.