Federal Employment Law

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OSC Whistleblower Complaint Lawyers

Representing federal employees before the Office of Special Counsel in Whistleblower and Prohibited Personnel Practice Complaints for 25 Years

OSC Whistleblower Complaint Lawyer

Our lawyers represent federal employees and others before the Office of Special Counsel, known as the OSC, in whistleblower and other prohibited personnel practice complaints. It is important for federal employees to know their rights before the OSC. Our attorneys frequently represent federal employees at the OSC.

Whistleblower Protection Coverage

The Whistleblower Protection Act and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act are laws that prohibit federal agencies from taking or threatening to take retaliatory personnel or adverse employment actions against federal employees, former federal employees or applicants for disclosing information concerning federal agency misconduct, illegal actions and waste, fraud and abuse. Our lawyers understand the importance of such complaints when an agency seeks to take action against an employee.

Federal employees may file a complaint of misconduct against a federal agency reporting gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, violation of laws or regulations, abuse of authority, danger to public health or safety, or workplace discrimination.  If employees believe they have been subjected to reprisal for whistleblower activity they may, among other options, file a claim with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The OSC can provide rights and protections to federal employees.

Who is Covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)?

The WPA protects current employees, former employees, and applicants in any Executive Branch agency, the Government Publishing Office, and government corporations (e.g. the Smithsonian). Generally, the WPA does not protect employees of the U.S. Postal Service, the Government Accountability Office, Postal Rate Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and specific intelligence agencies. In short, the WPA protects most of the federal workforce.

What is the OSC?

The OSC is an independent federal agency that:

  1. Investigates federal employee whistleblower complaints;
  2. Protects federal employees from prohibited personnel practices (PPP), and
  3. Prosecutes allegations of PPPs, such as reprisal for whistleblowing.

The OSC must generally make a decision as to whether or not to pursue a case based on the allegations made. As such, the OSC conducts an investigation into the allegations. a review by OSC, if it declines to accept the whistleblower case, they will provide a letter informing the federal employee of their right to take their case to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). These cases are referred to as Individual Right of Action (IRA) cases.

Whistleblower claims can also be included in cases filed with the MSPB directly, when combined with another appealable action, such as a removal.  For instance, if a federal employee is removed, but believes that he or she was the subject of retaliation for protected whistleblower activity, the action (usually referred to as an affirmative defense in this type of case) can be filed directly with the MSPB when the termination appeal is filed.

Common OSC Complaints

There are a number of different types of complaints that a federal employee may bring at the OSC. Not all of them involve whistleblower retaliation. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Whistleblower complaints;
  2. Whistleblower retaliation;
  3. Government Waste, Fraud and Abuse;
  4. Discrimination (but it is typically better to file such complaints with an agency’s EEO office unless timeliness is an issue);
  5. Nepotism (preference given to relatives during the hiring, promotion or performance process);
  6. Violation of merit system principles;
  7. Violation of veterans preference;
  8. Granting unauthorized preference (to illegally assist another in hiring or other employment advantages); or
  9. Coercion of political activity in the workplace (such as asking for donations for a candidate)

Contact Us Now

Legal action against a federal agency for whistleblower retaliation or an OSC complaint requires a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the federal laws governing federal employment.  If you would like assistance in filing an OSC complaint, please contact Berry & Berry, PLLC to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your individual circumstances since each OSC case is different.

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Filing Complaints at the OSC

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