NASA Policies, Merit System Principles, and Prohibited Personnel Practices

NASA Policies, Merit System Principles, and Prohibited Personnel Practices

Status report of: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday May 31st 2013

Subject: NASA Policies, Merit System Principles, and Prohibited Personnel Practices.
From: [email protected]
Date: May 30, 2013

Conscientious, principled decision-making is essential for NASA managers and others who exercise authority over personnel. Those who take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personal action should be familiar with NASA policies on diversity and inclusion, equal employment opportunity, anti- harassment and laws governing merit system principles and prohibited personnel practices.

NASA Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Diversity and inclusion are integral to mission success at NASA. Commitment to these principles helps ensure fairness and equity in hiring and decision-making. Diversity and Inclusion engages and utilizes the talents, backgrounds and abilities of individuals and teams to create and sustain a work environment where diversity of thought is highly valued. NASA strives to create and maintain an environment in which employees are encouraged to offer their views and perspectives before critical decisions are made. To do this, NASA must cast the widest possible net over all hiring actions and be an organization where the expression of ideas and opinions is welcomed and encouraged.

NASA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement can be accessed at:

NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Equal employment opportunity means opportunities not just for some, but for all. NASA is committed to providing its employees with a work environment free of discrimination, regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, information genetics, sexual orientation, parenthood or gender identity. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) covers all human capital and employment programs, management practices and decisions, including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, merit promotion, transfer, reassignment, training and career development, benefits and separation. NASA supports employee rights under the EEO Act, and retaliation against individuals who exercise their rights will not be tolerated. NASA will continue to strive for a workplace free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, including harassment and retaliation. NASA will also continue to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified persons with disabilities, where appropriate.

NASA’s EEO policy statement can be accessed at:

NASA Anti-Harassment Policy

NASA remains committed to providing a harassment-free work environment and to addressing harassing behavior as early as possible, before it becomes pervasive or serious. Accordingly, it is NASA policy to take immediate and appropriate action when the Agency becomes aware of allegations of harassment or determines that harassing behavior has occurred. Harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal or physical behavior based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age or disability, sexual orientation, parental status or an individual’s gender identity, which can reasonably be considered to negatively affect the work environment or an employment decision based on the individual’s acceptance or rejection of such behavior. It is the responsibility of all employees to immediately report any incidents of harassment. Employees who report harassing behavior in good faith or assist in any investigation of such a report are protected from retaliation.

NASA’s anti-harassment policy statement can be accessed at:

NASA anti-harassment procedures can be accessed at:

Principles of the Merit System (5 USC 2301)

The principles of the merit system are basic standards governing the management of executive personnel. The principles form part of the Civil Service Reform Act 1978.

Supervisors and managers must:

Recruit qualified individuals from all segments of society and select and advance employees based on their relative abilities, knowledge and skills after fair and open competition.

Treat employees and applicants fairly and equitably, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status or political affiliation, and in respect for their privacy and their constitutional rights.

Provide equal pay for equal work and appropriate recognition for excellent performance.

Maintain and ensure that employees maintain high standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest.

Manage employees effectively and efficiently.

Retain or separate employees based on their performance; inadequate performance must be corrected and employees who do not meet the required standards must be separated.

Educate and train employees when it will result in better organizational or individual performance.

Protect employees from inappropriate political influences.

Protect employees from retaliation for lawfully disclosing information in “whistleblower” situations (i.e., protect people who report things like illegal and/or unnecessary activity).

Prohibited Personal Practices (5 USC 2302)

Prohibited personnel practices are things that a federal employee with personnel authority cannot do. A federal employee has authority over personnel if he or she can take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personal action.

Personnel actions include appointments, promotions, discipline, details, transfers, reassignments, reinstatements, performance reviews, significant changes in job duties or working conditions, orders for testing or psychiatric examinations and any decisions regarding pay, benefits, awards or training.

Supervisors and managers must not:

Discriminate for or against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability status, marital status or of political affiliation.

Solicit or consider any employment recommendation not based on personal knowledge or records, and which relates to performance, ability, aptitude, general qualifications, character, loyalty or aptitude of the individual.

Compel political activity of any person or retaliate against any employee or candidate who refuses to engage in such political activity.

Willfully deceive or obstruct any person in relation to that person’s right to compete for employment.

Influencing a person to withdraw from a job competition for the purpose of improving or harming another person’s employment prospects.

Grant any preference or advantage not permitted by law, regulation or rule to any employee or applicant for the purpose of enhancing or impairing the employment prospects of any particular person.

Employ or defend the employment or advancement of a relative to a position over which the supervisor has jurisdiction or control.

Retaliate or threaten to retaliate against a whistleblower, whether an employee or candidate.

retaliate or threaten to retaliate against an employee or candidate who exercises their appeal/complaint/grievance rights, testifies or legally assists another person exercising these rights, cooperates with an inspector general or the attorney special, or refuses to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law.

Discriminate for or against an employee or candidate based on conduct that does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, candidate, or others.

Knowingly violating veteran preference requirements.

Violate any law, rule or regulation implementing or directly relating to the merit principles.

Failure to comply with the law or Agency policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from federal service.

For questions regarding this notice, contact: NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) Customer Contact Center 1-877-677-2123 (1-877-NSSC123) or [email protected]

To access all employee notices, please visit the NSSC Customer Service website at:

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