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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
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OSC: Personnel Violation At Energy Dept Facility
Watchdog Agency Wins Corrective Action

CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714, lsmith@osc.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – An official at the U.S. Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois improperly canceled a recruitment announcement once he learned his preferred candidate was not in the running, and then reworded the announcement to ensure that candidate would win.

     The cancellation of the announcement constituted a violation of the Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) statute designed to protect the merit system and worker rights. The law is enforced by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel OSC), a federal independent watchdog agency.

     After receiving a complaint, OSC conducted an investigation and found that there had been a violation of 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(6).

     The agency agreed to a settlement whereby the candidate who received preferential treatment will be removed, and a new recruitment action announced for the position. Further, no officials involved with the previous announcements will be overseeing the new one, and previous applicants will be notified and invited to reapply. The official responsible for the violation has retired.

     The U.S. Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, said, “Stopping violations such as this one is crucial to the functioning of the merit system. They may seem minor, but if allowed to proliferate quietly, they will inevitably erode public confidence. OSC will remain vigilant against all violations of our statutes.”



The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in federal employment by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1 (800) 872-9855.

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