From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
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[Laws in effect as of January 1, 1994]


[CITE: 5USC2302]

 
             TITLE 5--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEES
 
                           PART III--EMPLOYEES
 
                      Subpart A--General Provisions
 
                   CHAPTER 23--MERIT SYSTEM PRINCIPLES
 
Sec. 2302. Prohibited personnel practices

    (a)(1) For the purpose of this title, ``prohibited personnel 
practice'' means any action described in subsection (b) of this section.
    (2) For the purpose of this section--
        (A) ``personnel action'' means--
            (i) an appointment;
            (ii) a promotion;
            (iii) an action under chapter 75 of this title or other 
        disciplinary or corrective action;
            (iv) a detail, transfer, or reassignment;
            (v) a reinstatement;
            (vi) a restoration;
            (vii) a reemployment;
            (viii) a performance evaluation under chapter 43 of this 
        title;
            (ix) a decision concerning pay, benefits, or awards, 
        concerning education or training if the education or training 
        may reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, 
        performance evaluation, or other action described in this 
        subparagraph;
            (x) a decision to order psychiatric testing or examination; 
        and
            (xi) any other significant change in duties, 
        responsibilities, or working conditions;

    with respect to an employee in, or applicant for, a covered position 
    in an agency, and in the case of an alleged prohibited personnel 
    practice described in subsection (b)(8), an employee or applicant 
    for employment in a Government corporation as defined in section 
    9101 of title 31;
        (B) ``covered position'' means, with respect to any personnel 
    action, any position in the competitive service, a career appointee 
    position in the Senior Executive Service, or a position in the 
    excepted service, but does not include any position which is, prior 
    to the personnel action--
            (i) excepted from the competitive service because of its 
        confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-
        advocating character; or
            (ii) excluded from the coverage of this section by the 
        President based on a determination by the President that it is 
        necessary and warranted by conditions of good administration; 
        and

        (C) ``agency'' means an Executive agency and the Government 
    Printing Office, but does not include--
            (i) a Government corporation, except in the case of an 
        alleged prohibited personnel practice described under subsection 
        (b)(8);
            (ii) the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central 
        Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the 
        Central Imagery Office, the National Security Agency, and, as 
        determined by the President, any Executive agency or unit 
        thereof the principal function of which is the conduct of 
        foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities; or
            (iii) the General Accounting Office.

    (b) Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, 
recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to 
such authority--
        (1) discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for 
    employment--
            (A) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national 
        origin, as prohibited under section 717 of the Civil Rights Act 
        of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-16);
            (B) on the basis of age, as prohibited under sections 12 and 
        15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 
        U.S.C. 631, 633a);
            (C) on the basis of sex, as prohibited under section 6(d) of 
        the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(d));
            (D) on the basis of handicapping condition, as prohibited 
        under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 
        791); or
            (E) on the basis of marital status or political affiliation, 
        as prohibited under any law, rule, or regulation;

        (2) solicit or consider any recommendation or statement, oral or 
    written, with respect to any individual who requests or is under 
    consideration for any personnel action except as provided under 
    section 3303(f);
        (3) coerce the political activity of any person (including the 
    providing of any political contribution or service), or take any 
    action against any employee or applicant for employment as a 
    reprisal for the refusal of any person to engage in such political 
    activity;
        (4) deceive or willfully obstruct any person with respect to 
    such person's right to compete for employment;
        (5) influence any person to withdraw from competition for any 
    position for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of 
    any other person for employment;
        (6) grant any preference or advantage not authorized by law, 
    rule, or regulation to any employee or applicant for employment 
    (including defining the scope or manner of competition or the 
    requirements for any position) for the purpose of improving or 
    injuring the prospects of any particular person for employment;
        (7) appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for 
    appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a 
    civilian position any individual who is a relative (as defined in 
    section 3110(a)(3) of this title) of such employee if such position 
    is in the agency in which such employee is serving as a public 
    official (as defined in section 3110(a)(2) of this title) or over 
    which such employee exercises jurisdiction or control as such an 
    official;
        (8) take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a 
    personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant for 
    employment because of--
            (A) any disclosure of information by an employee or 
        applicant which the employee or applicant reasonably believes 
        evidences--
                (i) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or
                (ii) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an 
            abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to 
            public health or safety,

        if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law and if 
        such information is not specifically required by Executive order 
        to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the 
        conduct of foreign affairs; or
            (B) any disclosure to the Special Counsel, or to the 
        Inspector General of an agency or another employee designated by 
        the head of the agency to receive such disclosures, of 
        information which the employee or applicant reasonably believes 
        evidences--
                (i) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or
                (ii) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an 
            abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to 
            public health or safety;

        (9) take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, 
    any personnel action against any employee or applicant for 
    employment because of--
            (A) the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance 
        right granted by any law, rule, or regulation;
            (B) testifying for or otherwise lawfully assisting any 
        individual in the exercise of any right referred to in 
        subparagraph (A);
            (C) cooperating with or disclosing information to the 
        Inspector General of an agency, or the Special Counsel, in 
        accordance with applicable provisions of law; or
            (D) for refusing to obey an order that would require the 
        individual to violate a law;

        (10) discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for 
    employment on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect 
    the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of 
    others; except that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit an 
    agency from taking into account in determining suitability or 
    fitness any conviction of the employee or applicant for any crime 
    under the laws of any State, of the District of Columbia, or of the 
    United States; or
        (11) take or fail to take any other personnel action if the 
    taking of or failure to take such action violates any law, rule, or 
    regulation implementing, or directly concerning, the merit system 
    principles contained in section 2301 of this title.

This subsection shall not be construed to authorize the withholding of 
information from the Congress or the taking of any personnel action 
against an employee who discloses information to the Congress.
    (c) The head of each agency shall be responsible for the prevention 
of prohibited personnel practices, for the compliance with and 
enforcement of applicable civil service laws, rules, and regulations, 
and other aspects of personnel management, and for ensuring (in 
consultation with the Office of Special Counsel) that agency employees 
are informed of the rights and remedies available to them under this 
chapter and chapter 12 of this title. Any individual to whom the head of 
an agency delegates authority for personnel management, or for any 
aspect thereof, shall be similarly responsible within the limits of the 
delegation.
    (d) This section shall not be construed to extinguish or lessen any 
effort to achieve equal employment opportunity through affirmative 
action or any right or remedy available to any employee or applicant for 
employment in the civil service under--
        (1) section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 
    2000e-16), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, 
    religion, sex, or national origin;
        (2) sections 12 and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment 
    Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631, 633a), prohibiting discrimination on the 
    basis of age;
        (3) under section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 
    (29 U.S.C. 206(d)), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex;
        (4) section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 
    791), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of handicapping 
    condition; or
        (5) the provisions of any law, rule, or regulation prohibiting 
    discrimination on the basis of marital status or political 
    affiliation.

(Added Pub. L. 95-454, title I, Sec. 101(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 
1114; amended Pub. L. 101-12, Sec. 4, Apr. 10, 1989, 103 Stat. 32; Pub. 
L. 101-474, Sec. 5(d), Oct. 30, 1990, 104 Stat. 1099; Pub. L. 102-378, 
Sec. 2(5), Oct. 2, 1992, 106 Stat. 1346; Pub. L. 103-94, Sec. 8(c), Oct. 
6, 1993, 107 Stat. 1007; Pub. L. 103-359, title V, Sec. 501(c), Oct. 14, 
1994, 108 Stat. 3429; Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5, Oct. 29, 1994, 108 Stat. 
4363.)

                       References in Text

    The civil service laws, referred to in subsec. (c), are set out in 
this title. See, particularly, section 3301 et seq. of this title.


                               Amendments

    1994--Subsec. (a)(2)(A). Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5(a)(3), in 
concluding provisions, inserted before semicolon ``, and in the case of 
an alleged prohibited personnel practice described in subsection (b)(8), 
an employee or applicant for employment in a Government corporation as 
defined in section 9101 of title 31''.
    Subsec. (a)(2)(A)(x), (xi). Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5(a)(1), (2), 
added cls. (x) and (xi) and struck out former cl. (x) which read as 
follows: ``any other significant change in duties or responsibilities 
which is inconsistent with the employee's salary or grade level;''.
    Subsec. (a)(2)(B). Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5(b), amended subpar. (B) 
generally. Prior to amendment, subpar. (B) read as follows: `` `covered 
position' means any position in the competitive service, a career 
appointee position in the Senior Executive Service, or a position in the 
excepted service, but does not include--
        ``(i) a position which is excepted from the competitive service 
    because of its confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or 
    policy-advocating character; or
        ``(ii) any position excluded from the coverage of this section 
    by the President based on a determination by the President that it 
    is necessary and warranted by conditions of good administration.''
    Subsec. (a)(2)(C)(i). Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5(c), inserted before 
semicolon ``, except in the case of an alleged prohibited personnel 
practice described under subsection (b)(8)''.
    Subsec. (a)(2)(C)(ii). Pub. L. 103-359 inserted ``the Central 
Imagery Office,'' after ``Defense Intelligence Agency,''.
    Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 103-424, Sec. 5(d), inserted before period at 
end of first sentence ``, and for ensuring (in consultation with the 
Office of Special Counsel) that agency employees are informed of the 
rights and remedies available to them under this chapter and chapter 12 
of this title''.
    1993--Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 103-94 amended par. (2) generally. 
Prior to amendment, par. (2) read as follows: ``solicit or consider any 
recommendation or statement, oral or written, with respect to any 
individual who requests or is under consideration for any personnel 
action unless such recommendation or statement is based on the personal 
knowledge or records of the person furnishing it and consists of--
        ``(A) an evaluation of the work performance, ability, aptitude, 
    or general qualifications of such individual; or
        ``(B) an evaluation of the character, loyalty, or suitability of 
    such individual;''.
    1992--Subsec. (b)(8)(B). Pub. L. 102-378 substituted ``Special 
Counsel'' for ``Special Counsel of the Merit Systems Protection Board''.
    1990--Subsec. (a)(2)(C). Pub. L. 101-474 struck out ``, the 
Administrative Office of the United States Courts,'' after ``means an 
Executive agency''.
    1989--Subsec. (b)(8). Pub. L. 101-12, Sec. 4(a), in introductory 
provision inserted ``, or threaten to take or fail to take,'' after 
``fail to'' and substituted ``because of'' for ``as a reprisal for'', in 
subpar. (A) substituted ``any disclosure'' for ``a disclosure'', in 
subpar. (A)(ii) inserted ``gross'' before ``mismanagement'', in subpar. 
(B) substituted ``any disclosure'' for ``a disclosure'', and in subpar. 
(B)(ii) inserted ``gross'' before ``mismanagement''.
    Subsec. (b)(9). Pub. L. 101-12, Sec. 4(b), amended par. (9) 
generally. Prior to amendment, par. (9) read as follows: ``take or fail 
to take any personnel action against any employee or applicant for 
employment as a reprisal for the exercise of any appeal right granted by 
any law, rule, or regulation;''.


           Effective Date of 1993 Amendment; Savings Provision

    Amendment by Pub. L. 103-94 effective 120 days after Oct. 6, 1993, 
but not to release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability 
incurred under amended provision, which is to be treated as remaining in 
force for purpose of sustaining any proper proceeding or action for 
enforcement of that penalty, forfeiture, or liability, and no provision 
of Pub. L. 103-94 to affect any proceedings with respect to which 
charges were filed on or before 120 days after Oct. 6, 1993, with orders 
to be issued in such proceedings and appeals taken therefrom as if Pub. 
L. 103-94 had not been enacted, see section 12 of Pub. L. 103-94, set 
out as an Effective Date; Savings Provision note under section 7321 of 
this title.


                    Effective Date of 1989 Amendment

    Amendment by Pub. L. 101-12 effective 90 days following Apr. 10, 
1989, see section 11 of Pub. L. 101-12, set out as a note under section 
1201 of this title.

                  Section Referred to in Other Sections

    This section is referred to in sections 571, 1204, 1212, 1214, 1221, 
2105, 2301, 2303, 3303, 3352, 4505a, 4703, 5754, 5755, 7116, 7121, 7701 
of this title; title 7 sections 6932, 6962; title 22 sections 3905, 
4115; title 31 section 732; title 38 sections 4303, 4315, 4331.