U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES FAVORABLE SETTLEMENT OF THREE HUD COMPLAINTS INVOLVING WILLFUL
OBSTRUCTION OF COMPETITION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/27/01
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the favorable settlement of three complaints filed by three Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employees who alleged that they were advised by their supervisor not to apply for announced GS-13 Equal Opportunity Specialists vacancies because he said that he would promote them to GS-13 positions through another method. The employees, then GS-12 Equal Opportunity Specialists, at HUD’s Youth Implementation Office in Fort Worth, Texas, were not subsequently promoted by another method, as promised by the supervisor.
OSC’s investigation revealed that the employees’ supervisor, whose goal was to increase his staff size, did not want his employees to apply for the GS-13 vacancies because then he would have had to go through the vacancy announcement process for their vacant GS-12 positions. Essentially, he wanted six employees on board to handle the workload for the office instead of three with the delay of outstanding vacancy announcements for the GS-12 positions. Therefore, he hired three Equal Opportunity Specialists at the GS-13 level and attempted to non-competitively promote his three GS-12 employees by upgrading their job duties. While the supervisor had thought his plan would work, he was unsuccessful in his efforts to change the GS-12 positions into GS-13 slots.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, all three complainants will receive retroactive promotions, with backpay, interest, Thrift savings plan contributions and other benefits. Because two of the three employees were both promoted to GS-13 in January 2001, they will receive backpay for the period between December 5, 1999 to the effective dates of their GS-13 promotions. The third is entitled to backpay from December 5, 1999 to the present. In terms of disciplinary action, their former supervisor will receive a letter of reprimand. HUD also agreed to distribute education material, “Your Rights as a Federal Employee,” at the Forth Worth office where the complaints originated.
Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan stated, “while the manager didn’t intend to harm these employees, his actions ultimately led to just that.” She also expressed her appreciation for HUD’s cooperation in resolving the complaints.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose basic mission is to guard against prohibited personnel practices in the federal government. It is a prohibited personnel practice for anyone to deceive or willfully obstruct any individual from competing for federal civil service employment.