Prohibited Personnel Practices Complaints


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.


The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has the responsibility of investigating Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) complaints. What is the rate PPPs are found, and what resolutions can OSC negotiate when a PPP has occurred? The issue is in regard to promotions and appointments, concerning willfully obstructing competition for employment, giving an unauthorized preference or advantage and avoiding veterans’ preference. Can an OSC complaint for a PPP and a union grievance be filed simultaneously if the bases are different, but still the same non-promotion action? For the union grievance, HR confirmed that, at the request of management, merit promotion candidates were evaluated against selection and experience criteria not in the job announcement but developed later.


The questions you ask are complicated and discretionary with OSC. OSC has taken more cases where the claim of unauthorized preference has been made.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to

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