| Frequently Asked Questions: Federal Workers Lookup |
What is the Federal Workers Lookup?
The Federal Workers Lookup is a searchable database of information about 1.8 million civilian U.S. government employees - most of the non-military personnel who worked for the government during fiscal year 2002, the latest year for which data are available.
What kind of information does the lookup contain, and what is its source?
The lookup contains basic facts from the public record about workers and their jobs, including employee name, job title or occupation, pay plan, pay grade, management role and bonuses received. The source of the information is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Central Personnel Data File.
Why are some names abbreviated, incomplete or difficult to find?
The Central Personnel Data File includes the names of most employees as furnished to the Office of Personnel Management by various federal agencies -- and the lookup reflects what is in the data file. Names are sometimes misspelled or abbreviated. They are formatted inconsistently, making it difficult in some cases to tell which is an employee's last name and which is his or her first name. The data file - and by extension the lookup - often lists first initials instead of first name.
How was the information obtained?
washingtonpost.com filed a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the information. Under provisions of the Act, most of the Central Personnel Data File is a matter of public record and was released accordingly. However, Office of Personnel Management did not release employee age, race and gender after concluding that doing so would have violated the privacy of federal workers.
Does the lookup let me find information about every federal employee?
No. The Central Personnel Data File does not include data on military personnel, intelligence agency workers, foreign nationals working abroad or Postal Service employees. Employees of a number of smaller agencies - including the White House and Congress -- also aren't in the date file or the lookup*.
Does the lookup provide the same set of facts about all the employees it contains?
No. The Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did not provide the names of employees, the counties where they work or information about the bonuses they receive. Records for workers in these agencies are included in the lookup, but their names are listed as having been withheld.
Are the office locations of workers provided?
The lookup includes only the state and county where employees stationed in the U.S. work.
Is it legal to use the lookup for commercial purposes?
The Office of Personnel Management states that Central Personnel Data File may not be used for "commercial soliciting and vending of all kinds."
* The Central Personnel Data File does not contain information about foreign nationals working abroad or members and employees of the following organizations and federal agencies: Congress, the Architect of the Capital, the Botanic Garden, the Library of Congress, the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development, the Office of Compliance, the U.S. Court of Veterans Claims, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Judicial Branch, the White House Office, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Policy Development, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Panama Canal Commission, the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Rate Commission, The Tennessee Valley Authority, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the Army/Air Force Exchange Service, the Defense Consolidated Metropolitan Technical Personnel Center, the Defense Career Management and Support Agency. © 2003 The Washington Post Company
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