Right Hooks

Social Security Defends Awarding Bonuses to Bad Employees

It should have been a no-brainer.

Dan Gilmore · Nov. 4, 2015
Sleeping on the job? Give that man a bonus! Photo courtesy reynermedia, Flickr

It should have been a no-brainer. In 2013, the Social Security Administration gave out $145,000 in bonuses to employees caught behaving badly. According to a report by the agency’s inspector general, the 240 employees who got bonuses were written up or suspended for infractions such as sexual harassment, drinking on government time and disorderly conduct. Others misused government credit cards and accessed Social Security information when they were unauthorized to do so. And you thought your bonus was for being a good employee and doing a job well. The administration countered the inspector general’s report by saying, “We appreciate your efforts in conducting this review and while we generally agree with the recommendations, neither our awards policy nor the Office of Personnel Management guidance prohibits giving an award to an employee who has been disciplined for conduct. In addition, we believe it is important to reiterate that the review found no instances of noncompliance with current law, regulation, agency policy, or contractual agreements.” Perhaps no law was broken, but ethical ideals where. It seems it’s time to further rein in the Social Security Administration.

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