There are twelve prohibited personnel practices, including reprisal for whistleblowing, which are defined by law at § 2302(b) of title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). A personnel action" (defined in 5 U.S.C. § 2302(a)(2(A) to include appointments, promotions, reassignments, disciplinary actions, and other personnel matters) may need to be involved for a prohibited personnel practice to occur. Generally stated, § 2302(b) provides that a federal employee who has authority over personnel decisions may not:
(1) Recruitment should be from qualified individuals from appropriate sources in an endeavor to achieve a work force from all segments of society, and selection and advancement should be determined solely on the basis of relative ability, knowledge,and skills, after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity.
(2) All employees and applicants for employment should receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management without regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or handicapping condition, and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights.
(3) Equal pay should be provided for work of equal value, with appropriate consideration of both national and local rates paid by employers in the private sector, and appropriate incentives and recognition should be provided for excellence in performance.
(4) All employees should maintain high standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for the public interest.
(5) The Federal work force should be used efficiently and effectively.
(6) Employees should be retained on the basis of the adequacy of their performance, inadequate performance should be corrected, and employees should be separated who cannot or will not improve their performance to meet required standards.
(7) Employees should be provided effective education and training in cases in which such education and training would result in better organizational and individual performance.
(8) Employees should be -
(A) protected against arbitrary action, personal favoritism, or coercion for partisan political purposes, and
(B) prohibited from using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for election.
(9) Employees should be protected against reprisal for the lawful disclosure of information which the employees reasonably believe evidences -
(A) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or
(B) mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
A whistleblower is someone who discloses information he or she reasonably believes evidences:
Whistleblower retaliation is when a Federal employee who is authorized to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action takes, fails to take, or threatens to take any personnel action against an employee because of protected whistleblowing.
Protected whistleblowing is defined as disclosing information which the discloser reasonably believes evidences: