What Happens Next

How does the OSC handle prohibited personnel practice complaints?

Complaints Examining Unit (CEU) - CEU receives complaints filed on OSC Form 11 (see “How to File a Complaint” [hyperlink to the button of the same name on the PPP page] for additional information on the process for filing a complaint alleging a prohibited personnel practice). The unit initially analyzes all allegations of prohibited personnel practices (as well as allegations of other activities prohibited by civil service law, rule or regulation).

When necessary, CEU contacts the person requesting OSC action to ensure that CEU clearly understands the nature of and basis for each allegation. It conducts further inquiry to the extent necessary to determine whether the allegation warrants additional investigation.

Persons who have submitted allegations to CEU will receive one or more of the following responses:

  • a letter acknowledging receipt of their complaint and identifying the staff member assigned to handle it, with an information sheet (Form OSC-53) enclosed explaining how the complaint will be processed by CEU;

  • a status report after 90 days, and every 60 days thereafter while the matter is active;

  • a letter advising that the matter has been referred to the OSC Investigation and Prosecution Division for further inquiry, with an information sheet (Form OSC-54) about the investigation and legal review process, (or, as noted below, a letter inviting the complainant to participate in mediation as an alternative to investigation);

  • a preliminary determination letter, with a final opportunity for input when CEU proposes to close a matter without remedial action or referral to the Investigation and Prosecution Division; or

  • a letter advising that OSC will take no further action because it lacks jurisdiction over the matter.

OSC asks everyone who seeks an investigation of a possible prohibited personnel practice to select one of three consent statements (Form OSC-49) explaining necessary communications between OSC and the agency involved.

Investigation and Prosecution Division (IPD) - After a thorough initial examination, CEU refers matters indicating a potentially valid claim (under the laws enforced by OSC) to one of four field offices in IPD. The field offices are located in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Detroit, Michigan. IPD then conducts investigations to review pertinent records, and to interview complainants and witnesses with knowledge of the matters alleged. Matters not resolved during the investigative phase will undergo legal review and analysis to determine whether IPD inquiry has established a violation of law, rule or regulation, and whether the matter warrants corrective action, disciplinary action, or both. Complainants will continue to receive 60-day status notices while matters are pending in IPD.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Unit - After CEU has completed its examination, OSC offers mediation, as an alternative to investigation, in selected PPP cases. Participation in OSC mediation program is voluntary for both the complainant and the employing agency. If both parties agree to mediate their dispute, OSC assigns a neutral third party – a mediator – to facilitate a discussion between the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the complaint. For more information on mediation at OSC, click here.