Q & A Session – Employer-Required Certifications


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.


My organization is considering requiring GS-2210s to obtain Microsoft certifications. Their plan is to pay for the certifications. Can they do this? The 2210s do common IT work that is found throughout the Department of Defense (DOD). Neither DOD or the Air Force currently requires Microsoft certifications. My understanding is that, if you do specialized work that is critical in nature, you can be required to have certification, but you must get that approval from the Office of Personnel Management.


Your employer can require certifications or training that it, in its discretion, believes are important. The fact that you are obtaining the certification at your employer’s expense and while you are at work means you have to comply. Your job may not “require” the certification, but if your employer thinks it is a good idea, it is required.

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 lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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