U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES
CORRECTIVE ACTION SETTLEMENT FOR TWO HUD EMPLOYEES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/16/01
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the settlement of two prohibited personnel practice complaints filed by employees of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Both employees alleged that they were not selected for permanent positions as Community Builders in the geographic region of their choice in retaliation for disclosures they made to HUD management officials regarding abuses of authority committed by their first-level supervisor.
According to the complainants, who had been Community Builder Fellows prior to applying for permanent positions, their first-level supervisor was verbally abusive and, at times, physically threatening. The complainants alleged that after they reported this to HUD officials, they were not selected for permanent Community Builder positions in the field office where they had worked in as Fellows. Instead, they were selected for positions in other geographic locations.
OSC conducted an investigation of the complainants’ allegations. Following the investigation and before OSC issued a formal finding on the merits of the complaints, OSC assisted the parties in reaching an agreement in which HUD agreed to pay the employees a sum of money to compensate them for their moves to the geographic locations for which they were selected. HUD also agreed to pay for OSC training on the Whistleblower Protection Act at the Reno field office where the prohibited personnel practice complaints originated.
It is a prohibited personnel practice under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8) to retaliate against an employee for making a disclosure of an abuse of authority. The Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes complaints alleging the commission of prohibited personnel practices at federal agencies. In cases where an OSC investigation reveals reasonable grounds to believe a prohibited personnel practice has been committed, and an agency declines to voluntarily provide relief to a complainant, OSC will prosecute a petition for corrective action before the Merit Systems Protection Board. In many cases, such as this one, OSC obtains relief for complaining parties through settlement, before it makes a formal finding regarding the merits of the complaint.