Q&A Session – Challenging Classification and PDs


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I have been working without performance standards and my position description, classification and grade does not accurately reflect what I do. OPM has advised that they cannot conduct a review of the agency’s classification program without first allowing the agency to address the issue. The agency has not taken any action. Do we have any recourse to address this issue?


The complicated, arcane and outdated classification system does depend on accurate position descriptions (PD) and fair classification decisions based on those PDs. You can file a grievance over an inaccurate PD or request a desk audit. If you don’t get a desk audit, you can file a grievance over that. But, management may deny your grievance and there is little recourse to that denial (unless you are in a bargaining unit). By raising these issues, you increase the likelihood that management will pay attention to your concerns. Once you have an accurate PD, the classification appeal to OPM is your only and final recourse.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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