Q & A Session – Challenging the Denial of a Career Ladder Promotion


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 am currently in a ladder position GS-12/13 and was given two different objectives over a two-year period. I met both objectives but was never promoted. Now I am being told that my position is going to be changed to just a GS-12. I have turned down other opportunities thinking I had the possibility to be a GS-13. Is there any regulation or protection offered to employees promised a promotion?


Unfortunately, promotion in a career ladder is at the discretion of management. That discretion, however, cannot be exercised illegally. In other words, if you can prove illegal discrimination or whistleblower reprisal, you can challenge the denial of a career ladder promotion.

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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