The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the suspension of two federal employees today for instances of violating the Hatch Act while on duty.
The first employee was a sales associate with the Postal Service in California who made partisan political statements to a customer when working at a sales counter.
While in uniform, the employee told a customer that it costs $0.71 to mail a ballot, but “five bucks if you’re a Democrat” and remarked that he would never again vote for Democratic candidates. Other customers overheard the statements, and one witness told OSC she decided to mail her ballot from a local library instead of the post office because she was concerned that the USPS employee would tamper with her ballot.
The employee agreed to serve a 10-day suspension without pay.
The second employee is an employee at the Federal Aviation Administration who made numerous Facebook postings in support of political candidates while on duty. The postings were made over a period of several months and were in support of Democratic candidates or in opposition to the Republican Party.
The employee admitted to having knowledge of the Hatch Act when he engaged in the prohibited activity, and his supervisors had warned him not to make political social media posts from his government computer. In a settlement agreement, he admitted to violating the Hatch Act and agreed to a 30-day suspension without pay.
About the Hatch Act
The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 and modified in 1993 by removing the prohibition on participation in “political management or political campaigns.” Its intent is to “ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation,” the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) website states.