Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
Recently, a number of federal employees in my organization had their positions upgraded without advertising for their jobs and some even received large pay increases. Others were able to get their spouses hired, with one going through a direct hire without advertising the position. Do these actions violate any merit principles or federal employment laws? If they are illegal, who do I report it to?
You have described actions that could be illegal favoritism or nepotism, both of which are prohibited personnel practices. Inspector Generals and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigate prohibited personnel practices. Whether the actions you describe are actually illegal depends on additional facts to be developed.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.
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