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
663.2 Community Affairs
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
663.31 Prohibition Against
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
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.
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.
664 Bribery, Undue Influence,
An employee must report immediately to the vice
president and general counsel of the Postal Service, with a copy to the
Office of Inspector General:
a. Any instance in which a person either
within or outside the Postal Service uses or attempts to use bribery,
undue influence, or coercion to induce or attempt to induce the employee
to act or neglect to act in regard to official responsibilities.
b. Any information that causes the employee
to believe that there has been a violation of a federal criminal statute
or any law or regulation directly or indirectly related to the responsibility
of the Postal Service.
Note: Copies of the report must be sent, in sealed envelopes clearly marked
"Restricted Information-To Be Opened by the Addressee Only,"
to these addresses:
VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
US POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLZ SW 6TH FL
WASHINGTON, DC 20260-1100
US POSTAL SERVICE
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR
1735 N LYNN ST 10TH FL
ARLINGTON VA 22209-2020
665 Postal Service Standards
665.1 General Expectations
Employees are expected to be loyal to the United
States government and uphold the policies and regulations of the Postal
665.12 Performance of Public
Employees are expected to serve on juries and to
act as witnesses when summoned by official sources.
665.13 Discharge of Duties
Employees are expected to discharge their assigned
duties conscientiously and effectively.
665.14 Reporting Violations
Allegations of violations of postal laws by postal
employees, other than mail theft, must be reported immediately to the
Office of Inspector General. Allegations involving mail theft must be
reported to the Inspection Service.
665.15 Obedience to Orders
Employees must obey the instructions of their supervisors.
If an employee has reason to question the propriety of a supervisor's
order, the individual must nevertheless carry out the order and may immediately
file a protest in writing to the official in charge of the installation
or may appeal through official channels.
665.16 Behavior and Personal
Employees are expected to conduct themselves during
and outside of working hours in a manner that reflects favorably upon
the Postal Service. Although it is not the policy of the Postal Service
to interfere with the private lives of employees, it does require that
postal employees be honest, reliable, trustworthy, courteous, and of good
character and reputation. The Federal Standards of Ethical Conduct referenced
in 662.1 also contain regulations governing the off- duty behavior of
postal employees. Employees must not engage in criminal, dishonest, notoriously
disgraceful, immoral, or other conduct prejudicial to the Postal Service.
Conviction for a violation of any criminal statute may be grounds for
disciplinary action against an employee, including removal of the employee,
in addition to any other penalty imposed pursuant to statute. Employees
are expected to maintain harmonious working relationships and not to do
anything that would contribute to an unpleasant working environment.
665.2 Prohibited Conduct
665.21 Incomplete Mail Disposition
It is a criminal act for anyone who has taken charge
of any mail to quit voluntarily or desert the mail before making proper
disposition of the mail according to 18 U.S.C. 1700.
665.22 Unofficial Recommendations
Employees must not recommend or suggest the employment
of any person offering services as a consultant, agent, attorney, expediter,
or the like, for the purpose of assisting in any negotiation, transaction,
or other business with the Postal Service unless required to do so as
part of their official duties.
Employees acting in an official capacity must not
directly or indirectly authorize, permit, or participate in any action,
event, or course of conduct that subjects any person to discrimination,
or results in any person being discriminated against on the basis of race,
color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40+), physical or mental disability,
marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or any other nonmerit
factor, or that subjects any person to reprisal for prior involvement
in EEO activity.
665.24 Violent and/or Threatening
The Postal Service is committed to the principle
that all employees have a basic right to a safe and humane working environment.
In order to ensure this right, it is the unequivocal policy of the Postal
Service that there must be no tolerance of violence or threats of violence
by anyone at any level of the Postal Service. Similarly, there must be
no tolerance of harassment, intimidation, threats, or bullying by anyone
at any level. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action,
including removal from the Postal Service.
665.25 Illegal Drug Sale, Use,
The Postal Service will not tolerate the sale, possession,
or use of illegal drugs, or the abuse of legal drugs while on duty or
on postal premises. Employees found to be engaged in these activities
are subject to discipline, including removal and/or criminal prosecution
665.26 Intoxicating Beverages
Employees must not drink beer, wine, or other intoxicating
beverages while on duty; begin work or return to duty intoxicated; or
drink intoxicating beverages in a public place while in uniform. Unless
the postmaster general specifically authorizes an exception (for example,
an official reception), employees must not have or bring any container
of beer, wine, or other intoxicating beverage into any Postal Service
facility or premises, whether or not the container has been opened. Employees
found to be violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
Employees must not participate in any gambling activity
while on duty or while on property owned or leased by the Postal Service
or the United States. This prohibition includes the operation of any gambling
device, conducting a game for money or property, or selling or purchasing
a numbers slip or ticket.
Note: This section does not prohibit participation in activities specified here
if participation is necessitated by an employee's law enforcement duties,
or if participation is in accordance with Executive Order No. 10927, relating
to agency-approved solicitations, or in accordance with the Randolph-Sheppard
Act, when approved by postal management.
665.3 Cooperation in Investigations
Employees must cooperate in any postal investigation,
including Office of Inspector General investigations.
665.41 Requirement of Regular
Employees are required to be regular in attendance.
Failure to be regular in attendance may result in disciplinary action,
including removal from the Postal Service.
665.42 Absence Without Permission
Employees who fail to report for duty on scheduled
days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, are considered absent
without leave except in cases where actual emergencies prevent them from
obtaining permission in advance. In emergencies, the supervisor or proper
official must be notified of the inability to report as soon as possible.
Satisfactory evidence of the emergency must be furnished later. An employee
who is absent without permission or who fails to provide satisfactory
evidence that an actual emergency existed will be placed in a nonpay status
for the period of such absence. The absence may be the basis for disciplinary
action. However, once the employee provides management with notice of
the need for leave in accordance with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-required
time frames, and the absence is determined to be FMLA protected, the employer
must change the AWOL to approved FMLA-LWOP, and delete the AWOL status
from the record.
Any employee failing to report at his or her scheduled
time in installations where time recorders are not used is considered
tardy. Tardiness in installations equipped with time recorders is defined
as any deviation from schedule.
665.44 Falsification in Recording
Recording the time for another employee constitutes
falsification of a report. Any employee knowingly involved in such a procedure
is subject to removal or other discipline. Failure of a supervisor to
report known late arrivals is regarded as condoning falsification. These
practices may also result in criminal prosecution.
665.5 Furnishing Address
Employees must keep the installation head informed
of their current mailing addresses. Any change in mailing addresses must
be reported to the installation head on Form 1216, Employee's Current
Mailing Address, through "Self Service" on the Postal Service
Blue Page, or through USPS approved methods including PostalEase.
665.6 Disciplinary Action
Postal officials may take appropriate disciplinary
measures to correct violations of the regulations referred to in 665.
666 Prohibited Personnel Practices
666.11 Applicability of Restrictions
The following restrictions apply to any Postal Service
employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend,
or approve any personnel action with respect to any employee, eligible,
666.12 Prohibited Discrimination
The following provisions apply:
a. Political Affiliation. No
discrimination may be exercised, threatened, or promised by any person
or in favor of any employee, eligible, or applicant because of political
affiliation except as may be authorized or required by law.
b. Individual Status. No person
may be discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, age
(40+), national origin, disability, reprisal based on protected activity,
marital or parental status, or sexual orientation in connection with examination,
appointment, reappointment, reinstatement, reemployment, promotion, transfer,
demotion, removal, or retirement.
c. Conduct That Does Not Adversely
Impact Performance. No person may be discriminated for or against
on the basis of conduct that does not adversely impact that person's performance
or the performance of others. In determining suitability or fitness of
that person, any conviction for any crime under the laws of any state,
the District of Columbia, or of the United States may be taken into account.
See provision applicable to nepotism in Handbook
EL-312, Employment and Placement.
666.14 Improper Employment
and Placement Practices
Deceitfully or willfully obstructing or improving
the prospects of any person competing for a position by granting a preference
or advantage not authorized by law, rule, or regulation (including defining
the scope or manner of competition or the requirements for a position),
or by influencing anyone to withdraw from competition for a position,
666.15 Improper Recommendations
Soliciting or considering any recommendation or
statement, oral or written, with respect to any individual who requests
or is under consideration for any personnel action is prohibited, unless
such recommendation or statement is based on the personal knowledge or
records of the person furnishing it and consists of:
a. An evaluation of the work performance,
ability, aptitude, or general qualification of such individual.
b. An evaluation of the character, loyalty,
or suitability of such individual.
666.16 Coercion of Political
Coercion of the political activity of any person
(including the providing of any political contribution or service), or
the taking of any action as a reprisal for the refusal of any person to
engage in such political activity, is prohibited.
666.17 Reprisal for Exercising
Taking or failing to take any personnel action as
a reprisal for the exercise of any appeal right granted by a law, rule,
or regulation is prohibited.
666.18 Reprisal for Release
No one may take or fail to take a personnel action,
or threaten to do so, with respect to any employee or applicant for employment
because the employee or applicant discloses information that he or she
a. A violation of any law, rule, or
b. A gross waste of funds, gross mismanagement,
an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public
health or safety.
Disclosure of information that is specifically prohibited
by law does not carry the protection described above. However, no disclosure
under a. and b. above is prohibited by law if made to the Inspector General
of the Postal Service. There can be no reprisal for disclosures to the
Inspector General unless the complaint was made or the information disclosed
with the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its
truth or falsity.
Depending on the status of the employee complaining
and the action taken against him or her, complaints that one or more of
the restrictions in 666.1 have been violated may be brought through the
following appeal procedures.
666.22 Equal Employment Opportunity
Any employee or applicant may file a complaint alleging
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age (40+), national
origin, disability, or alleging reprisal based on protected EEO activity
within 45 days of the event believed to be discriminatory. For details,
see Publication 133, What You Need to Know About EEO.
666.23 Adverse Action Appeals
to the Merit Systems Protection Board
All employees eligible for veterans' preference
and certain other nonbargaining unit employees with one year of current
continuous service in the same or similar position may appeal removals,
reductions in grade or pay, suspensions of more than 14 days, or furloughs
of 30 days or less. The appeal must be made to the Merit Systems Protection
Board (MSPB) within 30 days of the effective date of the action. Preference
eligible employees may also appeal reduction-in-force (RIF) actions to
666.24 Grievance Procedures
Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement
may file grievances regarding wages, hours, and working conditions in
accordance with the provisions of the applicable agreement. Nonbargaining
unit employees at EAS-17 and below may use the procedure in ELM 652.4
to appeal matters other than suspensions or adverse actions. Nonbargaining
unit employees at EAS-18 and above may use these procedures to appeal
letters of warning and emergency placement in a nonduty status.
666.25 Nonbargaining Unit Appeals
Non-probationary employees not subject to the provisions
of a collective bargaining agreement may appeal removals, reductions in
grade or pay, and suspensions or furloughs of 30 days or less under the
provisions of Part 652.2. Letters of warning in lieu of time-off suspensions
may be appealed under the provisions contained in Part 652.3.
666.26 Other Appeal Procedures
for Prohibited Personnel Practices
Allegations of violations of the provisions of 666
that cannot be brought through any other procedure may be sent to the
VICE PRESIDENT LABOR RELATIONS
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLZ SW
WASHINGTON DC 20260-4100
Complaints filed with the vice president must be
in writing and include as much specific information on the alleged violation
as possible. The complaint is referred to the proper official. Allegations
of violations of law are referred to the Inspection Service and/or the
Office of Inspector General. The complainant will be informed in writing
of the disposition of the complaint.
666.3 Whistleblower Protection
666.31 Allegations of reprisal for the release of
information as set forth in ELM 666.18, raised by any Postal Service employee,
should be addressed to:
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE OFFICE
INSPECTOR GENERAL HOTLINE
1735 N LYNN ST
ARLINGTON VA 22209-2005
Allegations of reprisal received from Office of
Inspector General employees will be referred to an outside organization
or individual for investigation. In such instances, the outside organization
or individual will act in place of the Office of Inspector General, and
the Office of Inspector General will act in place of Postal Service management,
regarding the application of the procedures set forth in this section.
666.32 Upon receipt of the allegations, the Office
of the Inspector General will conduct a preliminary review of the allegations.
If the Office of the Inspector General determines that the allegations
warrant further review, a questionnaire may be sent to the complainant
that must be completed and returned to the Office of the Inspector General
within 30 calendar days. The Office of Inspector General will review the
completed questionnaire to determine whether it will investigate the allegations
or decline further action and, instead, refer the allegations to Postal
If the Office of the Inspector General declines
to review allegations or terminates an investigation, it shall prepare
and transmit to the complainant a written statement notifying the complainant
a. its decision not to review allegations
or to terminate an investigation; and,
b. the reasons for declining to review
allegations or terminating an investigation.
666.33 In addition to investigations of allegations
submitted to the Office of the Inspector General under ELM 666.31, the
Office of the Inspector General may, in the absence of an allegation,
conduct an investigation for the purpose of determining whether there
are reasonable grounds to believe that reprisal for disclosures protected
by ELM 666.18 has occurred.
666.34 The Office of the Inspector General may recommend
to the Vice President, Labor Relations, for purposes of ELM 666.3, a stay
of any pending personnel action until the conclusion of the investigation
and the issuance of a report if the Office of the Inspector General determines
that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the personnel action
was taken, as a result of a release of information as set forth in ELM
666.18. The Office of the Inspector General shall provide to the Vice
President, Labor Relations, an interim report explaining the nature of
the allegations of reprisal and the reasons supporting the Office of the
Inspector General's recommendation that a stay should be ordered.
666.341 The Vice President, Labor Relations, or
designee, shall, within three business days of the request, order the
stay unless he/she determines that, under the facts and circumstances
involved, such a stay would be inappropriate.
666.342 A stay shall not be for a period in excess
of 120 calendar days from the date granted and it may be terminated by
the Vice President, Labor Relations at any time.
666.343 When the Vice President, Labor Relations,
or designee, does not order the stay, he/she shall advise the Office of
the Inspector General of his/her decision within three business days of
the receipt of the request for a stay.
666.344 Where the Vice President, Labor Relations
does not order a stay, or where a stay has been ordered and it is subsequently
terminated by the Vice President, Labor Relations, the Office of the Inspector
General may request that a Postal Service Administrative Law Judge order
a stay of a personnel action for a period of 45 days from the date granted.
a. A stay will be granted if the Administrative
Law Judge finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a personnel
action was taken, or is to be taken, as a result of a release of information.
b. Unless denied, any stay under this
subparagraph shall be granted within 3 calendar days (excluding Saturdays,
Sundays, and legal holidays) after the date of the request for the stay
by the Office of the Inspector General.
c. A stay may be terminated by the Administrative
Law Judge at any time, except that the Administrative Law Judge may not
terminate a stay on his or her own motion or on the motion of the Postal
Service, unless notice and opportunity for oral or written comments are
first provided to the Office of the Inspector General.
666.345 When a stay has been ordered, the Office
of the Inspector General shall notify the Vice President, Labor Relations
in writing immediately if the Office of the Inspector General terminates
666.35 Except when the Office of the Inspector General
declines to investigate the complainant's allegations under ELM 666.32,
no later than 120 days after the date of receiving complainant's completed
questionnaire under ELM 666.32, the Office of the Inspector General shall
provide an investigative report to the Vice President, Labor Relations.
666.36 After receipt of the investigative report,
the Vice President, Labor Relations, shall advise the Office of the Inspector
General in writing of the Postal Service's decision.
666.37 Where the Postal Service determines that
no action is to be taken or, where the Office of the Inspector General
determines that the action taken by the Postal Service is not corrective,
the complainant may appeal and obtain a hearing before a Postal Service
Administrative Law Judge under the following conditions:
a. The complainant is a nonbargaining
unit employee who does not have a right to appeal the matter to the Merit
Systems Protection Board or through the hearing procedures set forth in
b. The appeal is only available for
personnel actions as defined in ELM 669k, and,
c. The Office of the Inspector General
has found a prima facie case of reprisal for whistleblowing.
666.371 If the Administrative Law Judge finds that
the Postal Service has established that it would have taken the same personnel
action in the absence of a disclosure under ELM 668.1, no corrective action
will be ordered.
666.372 Where the Administrative Law Judge orders
corrective action, such corrective action will place the complainant,
as nearly as possible, in the position the individual would have been
in had the improper personnel action not occurred.
666.38 Complainants who raise an affirmative defense
of whistleblower reprisal during the appeals process for adverse actions
set forth in ELM 652.23 and the claim of whistleblower reprisal is not
sustained, may file a written request within 30 calendar days from the
date of issuance of the Step 1 decision for review of the whistleblower
reprisal determination by a Postal Service Administrative Law Judge under
the following conditions:
a. The complainant is a nonbargaining
unit employee who does not have a right to appeal the matter to the Merit
Systems Protection Board,
b. The complainant has made the allegation
of whistleblower reprisal to the Office of the Inspector General and the
Office of the Inspector General has found a prima facie case of reprisal
for whistleblowing, and,
c. There will be no hearing. The Administrative
Law Judge's review will be limited to the record of the appeal.
The decision on the allegation of whistleblower
reprisal of the Step 1 official must be affirmed unless the Administrative
Law Judge finds that it is 1) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion,
or otherwise not in accordance with law; 2) obtained without procedure
required by laws, rule, or regulation having been followed; or 3) unsupported
by substantial evidence.
When the Administrative Law Judge does not affirm
the decision of the Step 1 official, the Administrative Law Judge shall
remand the appeal to the Step 1 official for issuance of a new decision
on the merits. The Step 1 official shall be bound by the Administrative
Law Judge's finding regarding the allegation of whistleblower reprisal.
ELM continued >