Prohibited personnel practice - PPP, complaints filed with the Office Special Counsel lurched up from 2,415 to 4,124.

More federal employees said in a 2016 survey that they had either experienced or seen prohibited personnel practices compared to a similar one in 2010 the MSPB has said, although adding that some of the reported increase could be due to greater awareness of what practices are not allowed.

Survey responses of nearly 15,000 employees from 24 agencies showed 46 percent saying they had experienced or observed such practices compared with 34 percent in the 2010 survey.


The report is the latest in a series from MSPB on the “PPPs,” a list of 14 disallowed workplace actions on matters ranging from improper preferences in hiring, advancement or other career actions to retaliation against whistleblowers.

Although the latest of the MSPB’s occasional “merit principles” surveys on the topic was conducted three years ago, the agency has been releasing findings only in pieces since then, partly because the lack of a quorum on its governing board since early 2017–and a total lack of members since early this year–leave it unable to make recommendations based on its findings.

MSPB noted in the same period the number of PPP complaints filed with the Office Special Counsel, which investigates complaints and prosecutes violations, increased from 2,415 to 4,124. However, in that time the OSC and many employing agencies “made a strong effort to ensure employees were educated about the PPPs. It is possible that this increased education resulted in a better ability by employees to recognize PPPs, and therefore report them,” it added.

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