A recent report from the United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has issued information about the prohibitions pertaining to nepotism in the Federal civil service. There are a number of statutes prohibiting an employee from helping relatives obtain employment in the civil service. These include:
- 18 U.S.C. § 208 - Prohibitions
- 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(7) – Governs the federal civil service
- 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502 – Regulations for ethical conduct
All of the above pertain to similar, yet different behaviors and a variance in how the agency must handle the action. The punishment will also depend on the specific statute violated.
Informing New Employees of the Nepotism Laws
One of the primary elements that the report addresses is the risk factor of new political appointees who may not be familiar with the rules against nepotism. Therefore, they should be fully informed of the civil service rules and must be aware of the prohibitions on giving a recommendation for a job. This is especially a concern with the inauguration quickly approaching.
Nepotism is a criminal offense that must be taken seriously to avoid damaging the agency and its operations. It is also important to help the public hold regard for the Government and trust that it is free from corruption.
The steps that the report encourages employees to take in order to avoid nepotism or any appearance of this sort of favoritism includes:
- Discussing any conflict of interest with the agency’s ethics advisor
- Disclosing the issue with the supervisor or another agency official
- Make attempts to recuse oneself from the situation
The purpose of the report is to give helpful guidance to agencies on how to best garner an environment where nepotism is unlikely to take place.
If you are interested in further information, speak with our DC federal employment lawyer at John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorney at Law. Contact us for the legal guidance you deserve!