Letter From Kay Coles James, Director of Office of Personnel Management
James, Kay C.
Wednesday, March 06, 2002 3:14 PM
Subject: Understanding Prohibited Personnel Practices and Whistleblower Protections

On March 14, 2002, Elaine Kaplan, Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel will join me in a kick off training session on whistleblower protection and the prevention of prohibited personnel practices. The session will be held in the Alan K. Campbell Auditorium from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This session is mandatory for all supervisors. Other OPM employees are welcome. A make-up session will be offered on March 26 in the auditorium from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. The kick off session will be video taped and sent to all field locations. A link to the OSC power point presentation follows for any interested employee. http://www.osc.gov/documents/ipguide/ipg_ts.ppt


Primary to OPM's mission is our responsibility to assure that the values of the merit system of Government are observed and upheld. Our leadership role in protecting the merit system principles and the preventing prohibited personnel practices demands that we serve as a role model for all other agencies. I firmly believe that employees who are aware of these protections will be more confident in coming forward to report possible violations of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health and safety.


I want to ensure that all OPM employees are aware of and understand the prohibited personnel practices and whistleblower protections. The following link to the Office of Special Counsel's website is the fact sheet, "Your Rights as a Federal Employee," which provides detailed information on prohibited personnel practices. http://www.osc.gov/documents/info/rights.pdf


Whistleblowing is defined as the disclosure of information that an employee reasonably believes is evidence of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health or safety. Although each employee is encouraged to bring such matters to the attention of his/her management officials, other sources are available to receive such disclosures. An employee can confidentially report these matters to OPM's Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, or other sources, depending on the circumstances.


The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 provides the right for every employee to make whistleblowing disclosures and ensures protection from reprisal. Any OPM employee who has reason to believe that there has been misconduct, fraud, waste or abuse is encouraged to report these matters. The following link to the pamphlet, "The Role of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel," contains valuable information as well as telephone numbers for reporting purposes. I encourage each of you to carefully read this pamphlet and familiarize yourself with its contents. http://www.osc.gov/documents/pubs/oscrole.pdf


Federal employees have the right to be free from prohibited personnel practices, including retaliation for whistleblowing. And I am committed to making sure that all employees are aware of their rights as well as the safeguards that are in place to protect them.


Please contact Janet Smith with any questions. She can be reached on (202) 606-4473.