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Special Council Office



<PRE>&lt;DOC&gt;
[2001 Privacy Act]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access]

[Page 36614]



#.SPECIAL COUNSEL OFFICE


#..OSC/GOVT-1

#....System name:

OSC/GOVT-1, OSC Complaint, Litigation and Political Activity
Files.
System location:
Human and Administrative Resources Management Branch, U.S. Office
of Special Counsel, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 201, Washington, DC
20036-4505.
Categories of individuals covered by the system:
The principal categories of individuals covered by the system are
persons filing allegations of prohibited personnel practices,
improper political activity, or other prohibited activities; persons
identified as engaging or participating in such practices or
activities; persons filing disclosures of alleged wrongdoing by
federal agencies, and persons identified as engaging or participating
in such wrongdoing; persons requesting advisory opinions on political
activity; persons charged by OSC in disciplinary action complaints
filed by OSC with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB); and
plaintiffs seeking remedies against OSC in litigation related to the
performance of its official functions.
Categories of records in the system:
Correspondence with persons (or their representatives) filing
allegations of prohibited personnel practices, improper political
activity, or other prohibited activities; correspondence with other
agencies, entities, or individuals referring matters to OSC for
review and/or investigation; exhibits and other documentation from
complainants, governmental entities or other third parties; interview
records, including notes, summaries, or transcripts; affidavits;
reports or other summaries of investigation; factual and legal
summaries and analyses; administrative determinations; referrals to
other agencies for appropriate action; records created or compiled in
connection with litigation by or against OSC, or pertinent to OSC
operations; requests and decisions under the Freedom of Information
and/or Privacy Acts; and other correspondence and documents arising
out of the performance of official OSC functions under 5 U.S.C. 1211-
1221, 1501-1508, and 7321-7326; 38 U.S.C. 4324, and other applicable
law or regulation.
Authority for maintenance of the system:
5 U.S.C. 552, 552a, 1211-1221, 1501-1508, and 7321-7326; and 38
U.S.C. 4324.
Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including
categories of users and the purposes of such uses:
a. To disclose the fact that an allegation of prohibited
personnel practices or other prohibited activity has been filed;
b. To disclose information to the Office of Personnel Management
(OPM) pursuant to Civil Service Rule 5.4 (5 CFR 5.4), or to obtain an
advisory opinion concerning the application or effect of civil
service laws, rules, regulations or OPM guidelines in particular
situations;
c. To disclose to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or
any other agency or office concerned with the enforcement of the
anti-discrimination laws, information concerning any allegation or
complaint of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex,
national origin, age, or handicapping condition;
d. To disclose information to the MSPB or the President upon the
filing or referral of a disciplinary action complaint against an
employee on the basis of an OSC investigation;
e. To disclose information to an agency, the MSPB, OPM, and the
President reporting, under 5 U.S.C. 1214, the results of
investigations which disclose reasonable grounds to believe a
prohibited personnel practice has occurred, exists, or is to be
taken;
f. To disclose information to Congress in connection with the
submission of an annual report on activities of the Special Counsel;
g. To disclose information to any agency or person regarding
allegations of prohibited personnel practices or other prohibited
activity or prohibited political activity filed against an agency or
any employee thereof, for the purposes of conducting an
investigation, in transmitting information to an agency under 5
U.S.C. 1213(c)(1) and the OSC procedures established thereunder; or
to give notice of the status or outcome of the investigation;
h. To disclose information to any source from which additional
information is requested (to the extent necessary to identify the
individual, inform the source of the purpose(s) of the request, and
to identify the type of information requested), where necessary to
obtain information relevant to an agency decision concerning the
hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security
clearance, the conducting of a security or suitability investigation
of an individual, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a
license, grant, or other benefit;
i. To disclose information to the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) at any stage in the legislative coordination and clearance
process in connection with private relief legislation, as set forth
in OMB Circular No. A-19;
j. To provide information to a congressional office from the
record of an individual in response to an inquiry from that
congressional office (made at the request of that individual);
k. To furnish information to the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) in records management inspections conducted
under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906;
l. To produce summary descriptive statistics and analytical
studies in support of the function for which the records are
collected and maintained or for related work force studies;
m. To disclose records to the Department of Justice (DOJ) when:
(1) The OSC, or
(2) Any employee of the OSC in his or her official capacity, or
(3) Any employee of the OSC in his or her individual capacity
where the DOJ has agreed to represent the employee, or
(4) The United States, where the OSC determines that litigation
is likely to affect the OSC, is a party to litigation or has an
interest in such litigation, and the use of such records by the DOJ
is deemed by the OSC to be relevant and necessary to the litigation,
provided, however, that the OSC determines that disclosure of the
records to the DOJ is a use of the information contained in the
records that is compatible with the purpose for which the records
were collected;
n. To disclose records maintained by the OSC in a proceeding
before a court or adjudicative body before which the OSC is
authorized to appear, when:
(1) The OSC, or
(2) Any employee of the OSC in his or her official capacity,
(3) Any employee of the OSC in his or her individual capacity
where the OSC has agreed to represent the employee, or
(4) The United States, where the OSC determines that litigation
is likely to affect the OSC, is a party to litigation or has an
interest in such litigation, and the OSC determines that use of such
records is relevant and necessary to the litigation, provided,
however, that the OSC determines that disclosure of the records is a
use of the information contained in the records that is compatible
with the purpose for which the records were collected;
o. To disclose information to the MSPB to aid in the conduct of
special studies by the Board under 5 U.S.C. 1204(a)(3);
p. To disclose information to the Office of Inspector General
(OIG) or comparable internal inspection, audit, or oversight office
of an agency for the purpose of facilitating the coordination and
conduct of investigations and review of allegations within the
purview of both the OSC and the agency OIG or comparable office;
q. To disclose information to the news media and the public when
(1) the matter under investigation has become public knowledge, (2)
the Special Counsel determines that disclosure is necessary to
preserve confidence in the integrity of the OSC investigative process
or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of OSC officers,
employees, or individuals covered by this system, or (3) the Special
Counsel determines that there exists a legitimate public interest
(e.g., to demonstrate that the law is being enforced, or to deter the
commission of prohibited personnel practices, prohibited political
activity, and other prohibited activity within the OSC's
jurisdiction), except to the extent that the Special Counsel
determines in any of these situations that disclosure of specific
information in the context of a particular case would constitute an
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; and
r. To disclose information to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
about OSC's referral of a complaint alleging a violation of veterans
preference requirements to DOL for further action under the Veterans'
Employment Opportunities Act of 1998; to disclose information to DOL
or any agency or person as needed to develop relevant information
about matters referred by DOL to OSC under 38 U.S.C. 4324 (the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994)the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994; to
disclose information to DOL or any agency or person as needed to
advise on the status or disposition of matters referred by DOL to OSC
for disciplinary action under 5 U.S.C. 1215, or litigation under 38
U.S.C. 4324.
Policies and practices for storage, retrieving, accessing,
retaining and disposing of records in the system:
Storage:
These records are stored in a variety of media, primarily
consisting of file folders, and computer storage equipment.
Retrievability:
Files in this system of records are retrievable by the names of
key individuals or agencies involved (e.g., complainants or
requesters; subjects identified in corrective action or disciplinary
proceedings, warning letters, or other determinations; legal,
congressional, or other representatives or points of contact; or key
witnesses), although files are generally retrieved by the name of:
(a) The complainant alleging a prohibited personnel practice, or
other prohibited activity; (b) the alleged subject of a complaint
about prohibited political activity; (c) the person filing an
allegation through the OSC whistleblower disclosure channel; (d) the
name of the person filing a request for an advisory opinion on
political activity; (e) the name of the person on whose behalf OSC
seeks corrective action, or the person against whom OSC seeks
disciplinary action, in litigation before the MSPB; and (f) the
plaintiff in litigation against OSC.
Safeguards:
These records are located in lockable file cabinets or in secured
areas. The required use of computer password protection
identification features and other system protection methods also
restrict access. Access is limited to those agency personnel who have
an official need for access to perform their duties.
Retention and disposal:
NARA keeps records about prohibited personnel practices and other
prohibited activity for three years after the matter or case is
closed, or for six years if the file has been the subject of a
Freedom of Information Act request.

[[Page 36614]]

NARA is responsible for disposal of OSC records pursuant to law and
regulation.
System manager(s) and address:
The official responsible for records management functions
associated with OSC program and administrative files, including those
in the OSC/GOVT-1 system of records, is the Records Management
Officer, Human and Administrative Resources Management Branch, U.S.
Office of Special Counsel, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 201, Washington,
DC 20036-4505.
Notification procedure:
Individuals who wish to inquire whether this system contains
information about them should contact the system manager. To assist
in the process of locating and identifying records, individuals
should furnish the following:
a. Name and address;
b. Date and place of birth;
c. Social Security number;
d. A description of the circumstances under which records may
have been included in the system.
Record access procedures:
Same as notification procedure, above.
Contesting record procedures:
Individuals who wish to contest records about them should contact
the system manager, identify any information they believe should be
corrected, and furnish a statement of the basis for the requested
correction along with all available supporting documents and
materials.
Record source categories:
Information in this system of records is obtained from a variety
of sources, consisting of complainants or others on whose behalf
allegations, or requests for information, have been submitted or
referred to OSC; legal, congressional, or other representatives or
points of contact; other government bodies; witnesses and subjects in
matters under review; principals involved in litigation matters,
including parties and their representatives; and other persons or
entities furnishing information pertinent to the discharge of
functions for which OSC is responsible.
Exemptions claimed for the system:
a. Complaint, Litigation and Political Activity files containing
investigatory material compiled by OSC for law enforcement purposes
are exempt to the extent allowed under subsections (k)(2) and (5) of
the Privacy Act. This exemption is necessary to protect confidential
sources and facilitate the voluntary cooperation of witnesses during
inquiries into allegations of prohibited personnel practices or other
prohibited activities.
b. Testing or examination material compiled by OSC solely to
determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in
the Federal service is exempt to the extent allowed under subsection
(k)(6) of the Privacy Act. This exemption is necessary to prevent the
disclosure of information that would potentially give an individual
an unfair competitive advantage or diminish the utility of
established examination procedures.
c. OSC reserves the right to assert exemptions for records
received from another agency that could be properly claimed by that
agency in responding to a request, and OSC may refuse access to
information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or
proceeding, pursuant to subsection (d)(5) of the Privacy Act.