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An official website of the United States government


Partnering with you to attract and support a dynamic workforce.

  • Deliver outstanding HR support and services to meet customer needs.
  • Develop and retain expert HRD professionals to secure the right workforce.
  • Nurture strong relationships with customers, stakeholders and each other.

Merit System Principles

The Merit System Principles listed below are adapted from the statutory language that appears in section 2301(b) of title 5, United States Code.

  • Recruit qualified individuals from all segments of society and select and advance employees on the basis of merit after fair and open competition.
  • Treat employees and applicants fairly and equitably, without regard to political affiliation, race, color religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or handicapping condition.
  • Provide equal pay for equal work and reward excellent performance.
  • Maintain high standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for the public interest.
  • Manage employees efficiently and effectively.
  • Retain or separate employees on the basis of their performance.
  • Educate and train employees when it will result in better organizational or individual performance.
  • Protect employees from improper political influence.
  • Protect employees against reprisal for the lawful disclosure of information in "whistleblower" situations (i.e., protect people who report things like illegal and/or wasteful activities).

Prohibited Personnel Practices

The prohibited personnel practices listed below are adapted from the statutory language that appears in section 2302(b) or title 5, United States Code. It is prohibited personnel practice to:

  • Discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation.
  • Solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge or records of job related abilities or characteristics.
  • Coerce an employee's political activity.
  • Deceive or willfully obstruct a person's right to compete for employment.
  • Influence any person to withdraw from competition for a position to improve or injure the employment prospects of any other person.
  • Give unauthorized preference or advantage to any person to improve or injure the employment prospects of any particular employee or applicant.
  • Employ or promote a relative.
  • Retaliate against a whistleblowers, whether an employee or an applicant.
  • Retaliate against employees or applicants who exercise their appeal rights, testify or cooperate with an inspector General or the Special Counsel, or refuse to break a law.
  • Discriminate based on personal conduct which is not adverse to on-the-job performance of the employee, applicant, or others.
  • Violate any law, rule, or regulation which implements or directly concerns the merit principles.


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