I used to wonder why so many “people of color” were living in the “Projects” in Asheville NC, which is my hometown. Surely, most of them want to work and live a dignified life like most Americans. Everyone has their own thoughts, but I am going to share mine. When I moved to Asheville, NC after retiring from the Air Force, I noticed that there were very few people of color in Asheville. After working only a few days in my former government agency, I realized there was a serious problem going on and it had been going on for a long time. It was time to address the matter and to educate others so they could make cultivated decisions about their careers.
Nepotism, which is the illegal hiring of family and friends in the government has been ignored by many and actually celebrated by those who are benefitting from it. When you have unlawful hiring of family and friends, the moral in the workplace goes down and you see “qualified” people working in the lowest grades in the federal government and “unqualified” people getting hired and promoted in the federal government. Then add in the fact that racial discrimination also plays an important part of why there are so many “people of color” who are suffering from financial drawbacks to not being hired or promoted in my hometown. You can learn more about racial discrimination at www.EEOC.gov
When I worked in the second largest federal government agency, I noticed that there were only five black employees out of about 550 employees. I listened to my “white” management brag about hiring their family and friends. It was disgusting to me as employees would secretly talk to me about the matter because they knew I had worked in Human Resources for over 22 years at the time. You are probably wondering—yes—I did report it to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C.
Many of these employees had many years of experience and education that should have supported them in receiving a job offer or a promotion if they were already hired in the agency. But, no, they were being deprived of having a fair opportunity, while unqualified people were hired and promoted because they were friends and family members of management. How do federal supervisors and manager get away with nepotism and racial discrimination? I will share three ways that can happen.
First, if a federal supervisor/manager wants to hire a “certain person”, they can write a position description (PD) that would “eliminate” other potential people from being qualified. The PD is written where only this person or very few people are qualified for a job posting. This is called a prohibited personnel practice (PPP) and it grants the “targeted individual hire” an illegal and unfair disadvantage. You can research nepotism restrictions in your state at http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/50-state-table-nepotism-restrictions.aspx.
Second, only certain federal employees receive training that can later support them receiving a promotion that requires the training they attended, while other employees may be denied this beneficial training. This is also a prohibited personnel practice that is illegal and reportable to the Office of Special Counsel that investigates valid prohibited personnel practices. You can contact them here: https://osc.gov
Third, if you are working in a federal agency and you are interviewed for a promotion opportunity, you may be “downgraded” in your skills or capabilities. For example, when I applied for a supervisor position, I later found out that my supervisor experience was down-graded as if I had never been a supervisor and had no experience as a supervisor. I had many years of experience as a supervisor and manager. I found out my “low” supervisory scores I received during my in-house interview when I received access to view my scores and everyone else’s scores that applied for the promotion, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You can learn more about accessing FOIA (federal) records here: https://www.foia.gov/report-makerequest.html
If you are concerned that you were not hired due to nepotism or because of your race, be sure to reach out to the resources I provided in this article. It is illegal to receive retaliation for being a “whistleblower”. Yes—retaliation does happen, but if you ignore a serious problem, it does not go away—it lingers. If you receive any kind of reprisal for filing charges of nepotism, prohibited personnel practices or discrimination based on unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, be sure to contact the agency you filed the charges with and submit the “alleged retaliation” charges within the required time-frame required for each agency. Most reprisals have to be submitted within 45 calendar days of the retaliation action.
If you are looking for resources on workplace bullying or discrimination you can find many answers here: http://www.fspagainstbullying.org/workplace-bullying.html
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