To sustain this charge, the Agency must establish that: (1) the employee had authority to take personnel actions; (2) the employee purposefully took or refused to take a personnel action as a way of giving preference to another individual or to improve the individual’s prospects for employment; and (3) the preference was unauthorized by law, rule, or regulation. Martin and Wallace v. Dept. of Commerce, 106 M.S.P.R. 23 (2007).
This charge could be brought by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) under its authority to request the Board to impose discipline on officials who commit prohibited personnel practices, including the specific practice of providing an illegal preference. When an Agency charges an employee with Granting Preferential Treatment, the Agency may choose to frame it as a violation of the standard of conduct or simply as an abuse of supervisory authority.
Key defense considerations center around whether the employee had authority to take the personnel actions at issue, whether the employee purposefully took or refused take the personnel action, whether the personnel action was taken as a way to give preference to an individual or improving prospects for employee, and whether the preference was unauthorized by law, rule, or regulation.
The attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. are highly experienced in MSPB matters such as these, and are willing and able to assist you in your federal employment legal matters.