Retroactivity of Grade


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.


Prior to the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), I was a GS-13. My position did not convert to NSPS; however, I applied for and was selected for a supervisory position under NSPS. This position never existed under the GS system; it was the result of an organizational reorganization. When I converted back from NSPS to GS, I was placed in a non-supervisory, GS-13 position. However, I continued to perform the same functions and responsibilities as I had under NSPS. Similar positions within my organization and other organizations converted back to supervisory GS-14 positions. Therefore, I filed an appeal through my agency.

My agency has agreed I should be a supervisory GS-14; however, they are indicating the grade will not be retroactive to when the conversion took place. Do I have any recourse for the grade itself to be retroactive?


Unfortunately, mistakes and delays in appointments and promotions, in and of themselves, do not include back pay.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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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

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