Newly released data from a 2016 government-wide survey conducted by the MSPB show increases over a similar 2010 survey in all forms of discrimination banned under the “prohibited personnel practices” of civil service law.
The largest increase involved gender discrimination. In 2010, 11.2 percent of women and 11.8 percent of men reported they observed or experienced such discrimination in their work unit in the prior two years while in 2016, 21.7 percent of women and 18.4 percent of men reported they had observed or experienced it – an overall increase of 8.2 percentage points to 19.9 percent. That put sex discrimination as the second-most common form of discrimination, behind race discrimination, reported by 20.6 percent, a 6.9 point increase.
Reports of age discrimination rose by 6.1 points to 17.6 percent and of discrimination due to disabling condition by 5.3 points to 12.4 percent. Discrimination based on religion, national origin, marital status or political affiliation showed 1-2 point increases to between 4-8 percent.
Reported retaliation against whistleblowers meanwhile rose 6.2 points to 14.3 percent, MSPB said, adding that unlike many of the other practices, perceptions of retaliation depending on knowing something specific–that someone is, or is perceived to be, a whistleblower. Reports of retaliation for other reasons, such as exercising appeal rights or cooperating with investigations, rose 7.8 points to 18.9 percent.
Improper hiring and career advancement policies also showed increases, including improper recommendations, obstruction of competition, improperly influencing a withdrawal from competition, nepotism and granting an improper advantage. At 30.6 percent, up 8.6 points, the latter was the most common of those and also the one that grew the most; the others fell in the 14-20 percent range and increased by several points.
Among the least experienced or observed forms of prohibited practices were political coercion, discrimination based on sexual orientation, and deliberate violation of veterans’ preference.