Favoritism and Cronyism in the Workplace

Federal Employment and Playing Favorites

Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism in the workplaceFavoritism and cronyism are two unfortunate aspects of federal employment that cannot be denied. The saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” appears to ring true, even in government workplaces.

Examples of Favoritism in the Workplace

Favoritism, favoring a person because of a relationship or feature (likes and dislikes, ability to provide something they need or want, relationship with a higher-up, etc.) instead of because of the merit of their work.

What Is “Cronyism” in the Workplace?

Cronyism, a narrower term, describes favoring someone because they are a friend or associate specifically. These types of favoring go against common, assumed workplace ethics, and against the transparency that government workplaces should be exhibiting with regard to hiring practices.

Nepotism in Federal Employment

Nepotism is defined as "the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs." In cases of federal employment, nepotism is prohibited by law under 18 U.S.C. § 2085 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(7), 5 U.S.C. § 3110, and 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502.

Fight Cronyism & Nepotism in Places of Federal Employment

If you have encountered favoritism, nepotism, or cronyism in your federal workplace, you deserve to be heard. Our team of DC federal employment attorneys at John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law can help you follow the right steps in filing a complaint and seeing it through. We believe that every employee deserves a fair chance at promotions, raises, and internal moves, and we will take your complaint of favoritism seriously. Our firm represents U.S. federal employees nationwide and around the world.

Ways that Favoritism is Exhibited in Federal Workplaces

There are many ways that favoritism and cronyism can manifest both in and out of the workplace. A person’s influence may not just be from within a federal office, it extends beyond that to social circles. A manager or employer may favor another person by giving them preferred assignments, awards, supervisory assignments, and work engagement staffing.

You may see favoritism of:

  • Sports partners or teammates
  • Friends of family
  • Family
  • Social associates
  • Management family members (out of your department)

Regardless of who or why your employer is acting with favoritism, it is against ethics and laws, and should be handled as such. Our team can help you put a stop to favoritism and cronyism, one person at a time.

Request a Free Consultation: (202) 759-7780

Favoritism and cronyism fall under the complaint department of OSC Complaints, the Office of Special Counsel. Because of the sensitive nature of prohibited personnel practices (PPP), it is crucial to hire an Attorneys who understands the gravity of the situation, and who can advise you with skill and equanimity. Our DC federal employment attorneys can help you prepare, deliver, and carry out your complaint with composure and confidence.


Contact our firm today at (202) 759-7780. We represent federal employees nationwide and around the world.


John P. Mahoney, Esq.

Blog Author: Attorney John P. Mahoney, Esq.

John P. Mahoney, Esq. is an award-winning attorney with 25+ years of experience. Visit his bio to learn more about his experience representing the federal sector community.

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