Finding Practical Examples: Hatch Act

Real examples make training lively and convincing. Reciting abstract rules until you are blue in the face won’t make as much of an impact as one relevant example. An Office of Special Counsel press release demonstrates exactly how and why employees violated the Hatch Act, and the consequences:

  • A civilian Army employee ran in a partisan election despite numerous warnings from both OSC and his agency that doing so was in violation of the Hatch Act. OSC also offered not to seek disciplinary action if the employee withdrew from the election. An OSC investigation further found that he solicited contributions for his campaign, also in violation of the Hatch Act. As a result, the employee served a 180-day unpaid suspension.
  • A police officer with an Arizona VA medical center ran in a partisan campaign for constable, even though he acknowledged that he knew doing so was a violation of the Hatch Act. As a penalty for this violation, he was suspended without pay for 20 consecutive calendar days.
  • A civilian employee with the U.S. Navy in Rhode Island sent seven emails directed at the failure of President Obama‚Äôs 2012 campaign to fellow federal employees. She sent the partisan emails while on duty and in a federal workplace even though her agency had previously notified her that doing so was a violation of the Hatch Act. She was suspended for five days without pay.
  • A contracting officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a highly partisan email to dozens of people. She sent this email, which urged everyone to vote Democrat in the upcoming election, while on duty and in the federal workplace. She acknowledged that she should have known about the Hatch Act and that sending the email was a violation of it. As a penalty, she was suspended without pay for one day.

How can you find more examples? The OSC website has a Press Release page. You can even save labor by using a page monitoring service like Watch That Page that will report to you by e-mail when the page is changed. The Ombud Forum website has more information.