Developments at the OSC: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently issued its annual report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014.
OSC reported an overall 16% increase in overall new matters received (to over 5200) over the prior fiscal year, but also reported a 3% decrease in total matters resolved. Prohibited Personnel Practice (PPP) complaints--the category which includes whistleblower reprisal complaints--were up almost 15% from the prior fiscal year. Whistleblower disclosure cases were up almost 37%, and new USERRA cases were up over 6%. Hatch Act matters were down, with advisory opinions down almost 22% and new Hatch Act complaints down 45%. The Hatch Act decrease is consistent with the effects of the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, which went into effect in January 2013 (as previously analyzed in this blog).
Total favorable actions on prohibited personnel practice (PPP) complaints nearly doubled over the same period, to 159 (the figure was only 29 as recently as FY 2007). Mediations on PPP complaints at OSC more than quadrupled over the prior fiscal year, going from 31 to 129. While activity on OSC's Hatch Act cases also increased, that increase is likely to drop off in the future due to the effects of last year's Hatch Act amendments, which were previously analyzed in this blog. OSC also completed processing on 92 USERRA cases on a 36-month demonstration program, 24 of which (26%) with corrective action obtained.
However, the increase in new PPP complaints did not increase OSC's rate of PPP prosecutions; the percentage of PPP cases referred from OSC's Complaints Examining Unit to OSC's Investigation and Prosecution Division decreased 0.5% from the prior fiscal year. The percentage of PPP cases which were processed within 240 calendar days remained unchanged from the prior fiscal year.
If you believe that you have been the subject of whistleblower reprisal or any other Prohibited Personnel Practice, please contact Passman & Kaplan to request an initial consultation.