In what amounts to a renewed warning against politicking in the federal workplace in this election year, the Office of Special Counsel recently pursued three cases involving partisan political displays.
OSC, which investigations and prosecutes violations of the Hatch Act among its other responsibilities, said the cases are “instructive” regarding the limits of allowable conduct under that law.
One involved the display behind the front desk in a post office of a sign advocating the Donald Trump campaign; that was removed when OSC, responding to a complaint, contacted the postmaster.
In another case, OSC directly contacted an FAA employee who had displayed a Hillary Clinton bobble head doll at her workplace; that too was removed.
The third involved a derogatory picture of Clinton displayed in a CBP workplace; that was removed after OSC contacted the pertinent manager, but the case remains open for possible disciplinary action.
“In the last few months of the presidential election season, these cases are reminders to all federal employees to refrain from engaging in partisan political activity in the workplace,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner. “We want federal employees to be involved in the political process, but they must wait until they’re off the clock and out of the office to express support or opposition to partisan candidates or political groups.”