Introduction to the OSC
Who We Are
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent
federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Our basic authorities come from three
federal statutes, the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the
OSCs primary mission is to safeguard the merit
system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices,
especially reprisal for whistleblowing. For a description of prohibited personnel
practices (PPPs), click on the prohibited personnel
What We Do
PPPs & Whistleblower Protection
OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of
PPPs, with an emphasis on protecting federal government whistleblowers. OSC seeks
corrective action remedies (such as back pay and reinstatement), by negotiation or from
the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), for injuries suffered by whistleblowers and
other complainants. OSC is also authorized to file complaints at the MSPB to seek
disciplinary action against individuals who commit PPPs. For more information on how we
process PPP complaints, click on the prohibited personnel
OSC provides a secure channel through its Disclosure Unit
for federal workers to disclose information about various workplace improprieties,
including a violation of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement and waste of funds,
abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health or safety. For more
information on our Disclosure Unit, click on the Whistleblower Disclosures link.
Hatch Act Unit (Political Activity)
OSC promotes compliance by government employees with legal
restrictions on political activity by providing advisory opinions on, and enforcing, the
Hatch Act. Every year, OSCs Hatch Act Unit provides over a thousand advisory
opinions, enabling individuals to determine whether their contemplated political
activities are permitted under the Act.
The Hatch Act Unit also enforces compliance with the Act.
Depending on the severity of the violation, OSC will either issue a warning letter to the
employee, or prosecute a violation before the MSPB. For more information on our Hatch Act
Unit, click on the Hatch Act link.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights
Act (Veterans Rights)
OSC protects the reemployment rights of federal employee
military veterans and reservists under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment
Rights Act (USERRA). For more information on how we protect veterans rights
under USERRA, click on the USERRA link.
Employee Information Programs
Section 2302(c) of title 5 of the U.S. Code makes
agency heads and officials with personnel authority responsible (in consultation with the
OSC) for informing federal employees of their rights and remedies under chapters 12 and 23
of title 5. These chapters deal with prohibited personnel practices, whistleblower
disclosures, political activity, and access to the OSC and the Merit Systems Protection
The OSC endeavors to assist agencies in carrying
out their employee information responsibilities, including by the development of a general
guide to federal employee rights and remedies under title 5. Click on the
Publications Link for Microsoft Power Point versions of this resource.
How OSC is Organized
The OSC is headed by the Special Counsel, who is appointed by the President,
and confirmed by the Senate. The agency employs approximately 106 employees
(primarily personnel management specialists, investigators and attorneys) to
carry out its government-wide responsibilities. They work in the headquarters
office in Washington, D.C., and in the Dallas, Texas, and San Francisco Bay Area
field offices, and Detroit, Michigan office.
OSC Organizational Chart
OSC Leadership Biographical Information