The Office of Special Counsel has said that it has found violations of merit hiring principles at Justice and Treasury and that in response the two departments “took action consistent with OSC’s recommendations.”
At Justice, OSC said that it found hiring violations for two positions in which officials sought to encourage preference eligible veterans to withdraw their applications in order to hire a non-veteran candidate.
“When the veterans declined to withdraw, DOJ selected the non-veteran candidate, despite rules mandating that veterans receive priority in hiring over non-veterans in certain circumstances. After DOJ human resources staff refused to process the selection of the non-veteran, DOJ re-announced the positions with new qualification requirements that effectively excluded all veterans who applied,” a summary said.
Attempting to influence the veterans to withdraw and recommending a personnel action that would violate veterans preference are prohibited personnel practices, OSC said, adding that it “recommended disciplinary and corrective action for the violations, including appropriate training for DOJ staff.”
At Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network required attorney experience and prior federal service for certain investigator positions although neither requirement was in the vacancy announcements, OSC said. That “willfully obstructed the right of applicants without attorney experience and with no prior federal service to compete for the positions,” it said, adding that it recommended that managers and HR staff in the component “receive appropriate training.”