663 Participation in Political and Community Activities

663.1 Political Activities

663.11 General
663.111 Employees Included

With the exceptions noted in part 663.112, Postal Service employees are subject at all times to restrictions on their participation in political activities under the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C., subchapter III of chapter 73, and 18 U.S.C. 602, 603, and 607) and related regulations.

663.112 Employees Excluded

Postal employees who are employed on an irregular or occasional basis (e.g., experts and consultants, substitute rural carriers, or those on a per–diem basis), and those employees who are employed without compensation or on a when–actually–employed basis are subject to the restrictions mentioned in 663.111 only while in an active duty status and only for the entire 24 hours of a day of actual employment. Notwithstanding this paragraph, full-time employees in a leave status and part-time employees are fully subject to the restrictions of 663.111.

663.113 Nonpartisan Office

An employee may seek, accept, or hold a nonpartisan federal, state, or local office subject to the provisions of this Code and this section. A nonpartisan office is one filled as a result of a nonpartisan election. A nonpartisan election is an election in which none of the candidates to be nominated or elected represent a political party whose candidates for presidential elector received votes in the last preceding election held to select presidential electors.

663.114 Employee Responsibility

Example: An employee who wishes to seek, accept, or hold a nonpartisan federal, state, or local office is responsible for ascertaining:

  1. Whether the office is nonpartisan within the definition in 663.113.
  2. Whether federal, state, or local law permits a Postal Service employee to seek, accept, or hold the particular office.
  3. Whether the duties of the office would result in a conflict with Postal Service employment.
  4. Whether the discharge of the duties of the office would interfere with the acceptable performance of Postal Service duties or would interfere with the acceptable performance by other Postal Service employees of their respective duties. Employees may seek advice from one of the agency ethics officials listed in 662.12 or from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in making these determinations. The advisory service of the OSC can be reached at (800) 854–2824.
663.115 Prohibition Against Conflict

An employee is encouraged to seek advice from one of the agency ethics officials listed in 662.12 or from the OSC before taking any action to seek, accept, or hold a federal, state, or local office. If the employee assumes the duties of this nonpostal office and they interfere with the proper discharge of postal duties, either by that individual or by other postal employees, then the employee holding the nonpostal office must be advised by a superior to eliminate the interference. This can be accomplished either by resignation from the nonpostal office or some other appropriate manner. If the employee fails, refuses, or neglects to comply with this advice and the interference continues, that individual will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

663.116 Campaign While on Leave

Employees, other than postmasters, district managers, or acting postmasters in a salary level of EAS–25 or higher, may be granted permission to campaign for a full-time state or local nonpartisan office while on annual leave or on authorized leave without pay during the campaign when:

  1. The criteria in 663.114a and 663.114b are met.
  2. The vice president of Area Operations determines that the employee’s postal responsibilities are being conducted in a satisfactory manner and that the absence of the employee during the campaign period will not disrupt the operation of the facility where the person is employed.

Note: Requests must be submitted through the postmaster or other installation head to the vice president of Area Operations. An employee who is elected and takes such a full-time office may either be separated from the Postal Service or granted leave without pay.

A postmaster in salary level EAS–25 or higher, a district manager, or an acting postmaster in salary level EAS–25 or higher, may not be authorized to take annual leave or leave without pay for the purpose of campaigning for a full-time state or local nonpartisan office.

663.12 Additional Prohibited Political Activities

In addition to the restrictions on political activities referred to in 663.111, an employee may not:

  1. Display a political picture or sticker on property owned or leased by the Postal Service. The employee is not forbidden, however, from displaying a picture, including a personally autographed picture of a political figure, in an office or place of work if it contains no language in the nature of political campaigning.
  2. Wear a political badge or button while in uniform or while on duty.
  3. Display a political picture or sticker on a private vehicle while that vehicle is being used for official purposes.
663.13 Investigation and Enforcement

The independent Office of Special Counsel investigates allegations of political activity in violation of the Hatch Act by Postal Service employees. The Merit Systems Protection Board adjudicates such allegations.

663.2 Community Affairs

663.21 General

An employee is permitted to participate in community affairs to the extent consistent with the proper performance of postal duties and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Nothing in this section prevents an employee from serving as an official of a religious, fraternal, or civil nonpolitical organization that is supported by dues or contributions from its own members, or from participating in the nonpartisan activities of a civic, community, social, labor, professional, or other similar organization in his or her personal capacity.

663.3 Nonparticipation in Segregated Meetings

663.31 Prohibition Against Participation

Postal officials may not participate in conferences or speak before audiences where any racial or ethnic group or members of either sex have been purposely segregated or excluded from the meeting, from any of the facilities, from the conference, or from membership in the group. When requests to speak or participate are received under circumstances where discrimination may be practiced, the invited official should inquire as to the practices of the group before acceptance.

663.32 Prohibition Against Sponsorship

The Postal Service may not sponsor, support, or financially assist, directly or indirectly, any conference, convention, or meeting held where participants are segregated or are treated unequally on the basis of prohibited discrimination.

663.33 Exceptions

If the Postal Service civil rights program will be better served by permitting an exception to this policy in a particular case, the area manager of Human Resources must be advised prior to making any commitments and requested to provide a confirmation of a waiver of the policy in 663.31.