Beware of the Hatch Act – OSC Clarifies Guidance After NTEU Raises Concerns

After new Hatch Act guidelines on what federal employees can discuss at work were issued, NTEU immediately raised concerns causing the Office of Special Counsel to issue a clarification. The guidelines broadly [and incorrectly] cautioned federal employees from discussing ‘impeachment’ and ‘the resistance’ while at work, on duty, or in uniform. OSC clarified that Hatch Act investigations are supposed to be fact specific.

While NTEU appreciated the clarification, we remain concerned that broad, general guidance can lead to confusion among employees. We intend to closely monitor the implementation of this guidance to make sure individual employees are not adversely impacted, National President Tony Reardon said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Special Counsel Henry Kerner urging him to rescind the guidance. Cummings said the guidance is a radical departure from past guidance and is certain to have a chilling impact on federal employees.