Classification appeal process
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Classification Appeal Process. First, get your PD Second, look at the Commerce Web site to determine a PD or possible PDs in the same job group or job family as your PD: http://hr.commerce.gov/Practitioners/ClassificationAndPositionManagement/PDLibrary/PROD01_000365.

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Classification Appeal Process

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Classification appeal process

Classification Appeal Process

  • First, get your PD

  • Second, look at the Commerce Web site to determine a PD or possible PDs in the same job group or job family as your PD:

    http://hr.commerce.gov/Practitioners/ClassificationAndPositionManagement/PDLibrary/PROD01_000365


Review your personalized pd and similar generic pds

Review Your Personalized PD and similar Generic PDs

  • The PDs listed on the PD library are all generic. However, your PD is specific to your job, thus making it an individualized PD. Often the agency simply uses the generic PD as your individualized PD. Sometimes they adjust the generic PD and make it “individualized.”

  • Start by reviewing your individualized PD and other generic PDs in the same family or group.


Are you in a career ladder

Are you in a career ladder?

  • First, note if you are in a “career ladder” that allows you develop experience, training, and skills to move up in grade noncompetitively.

  • Example, some employees come in as grade 7s, and 1 year later are eligible to get a 9, and one year afterwards an 11, and finally one year after that a 12.

  • If you’re in a ladder, look at the PDs in your ladder to see if you’re doing work above your grade level.


If you re not in a career ladder examine the same family of pds

If you’re not in a career ladder, examine the same family of PDs

  • Look at job descriptions within the same or a similar job series.

  • Examine grades higher in those series.

  • Example: Secretary 04, 05, 06, 07, 08

  • Example: Statistical Assistant 05, 06, 07, 08, 09

  • Pull the relevant PDs and see if you are doing work in a higher grade.


Opm rule on mixed grade positions

OPM rule on Mixed Grade Positions

  • Sometimes you may be doing work of your grade and the grade higher. That’s call “mixed grade” work. What is the grade determining rule?

  • According to OPM Position Classification Standards page 17-18 on Mixed grades you can be assigned to the higher grade if:

    1) the work is officially assigned to you on a regular and continuing basis (not just for a while)

    2) the work is substantial part of the overall position (that is occupying at least 25% of your time); &

    3) The higher level knowledge and skills needed to perform that work would be required in recruiting, if the job were vacant.


Two ways to do a classification appeal

Two ways to do a classification appeal

  • 1) You can ask for an Agency audit and if you are turned down, go to OPM for an OPM audit

  • 2) You can bypass the Agency audit and go directly to OPM –and forego the Agency attempt.

  • Either way, OPM’s decision is final.

  • You can designate a union rep as your rep.


A note of caution

A Note of caution

  • (Benn v. Merit Systems Protection Board, C.A.F.C. No. 2008-3357) Benn, a GS-6 Supply Technician believed his job should be at the GS-7 level. VA denied Benn's request to reclassify his job upward. So, as was his right, Benn appealed the agency's classification decision to the Office of Personnel Management. OPM looked at it and determined that Benn's position was not in fact at the GS-6 level—rather, he should be classified at the GS-5 level. The agency followed the process to downgrade Benn to lower level with grade and pay retention for 2 years. Benn was equally unsuccessful with the federal appeals court, which has now affirmed the MSPB. As the court notes, "It is clear that the Board does not have jurisdiction over classification appeals, which are within the province of OPM and only appealable to that entity…"


What does this mean

What does this mean?

  • If you are not even doing work at your own grade level by, don’t appeal your classification.

  • If you feel such a risk exits, please discuss this with us before moving forward. We will advise you.

  • It will not be the union’s responsibility in the event that end up demoted.


The us code says these are factors in determining your class and grade

The US Code says these are factors in determining your class and grade

  • Class - 5 USC 5106 (a) the basis for determining the class is the responsibility of the position and qualifications required by the duties and responsibilities.

  • Grade - 5 USC 5106 (b) The basis for determining the appropriate grade is the level of difficulty, responsibility, and qualification requirements of the work of the class.


Classification appeal process

OPM lists 9 DeterminingFactors about your classification – they’re in your PD and the classifier will ask you about them

  • 1)Knowledge required to do your work – Example a -professional work requires bachelor’s or higher degree work with a specialized field.

  • Example b – administrative work does not require specialized education, but does involve skills typically gained by either college level education or progressively responsible experience.

  • Example c- technical work (associated with professional or administration) involves extensive training gained by experience or training less than college education.


9 factors continued

9 Factors continued

  • Example d- clerical work requires training and experience or working knowledge related to tasks.


9 factors continued1

9 factors continued

  • 2) Supervisory controls

  • 3) Guidelines

  • 4) Complexity – your PD will often gradations of complexity – example levels of independent judgment.

  • 5) Scope and effect

  • 6) Personal contacts

  • 7) Purpose of contacts

  • 8) Physical requirements

  • 9) Work environment

  • Identify these 9 factors in your PD


Things opm spells out that are not factors

Things OPM spells out that are not factors?

  • The amount of work is not a factor– the kind of work and the level or work are factors, not the volume of work

  • Your qualifications are not a factor –you’re judged on what you do, not what you could do

  • Accuracy is not a factor – they expect you to do quality work.

  • Length of experience not a factor – within grade steps account for experience.


Classification appeal process

Not really important but here’s an example of how Federal Code Basis wording makes distinctions by grade. Example: GS 6 – 5 USC 5105

  • GS-6- a) perform, under general supervision, difficult and responsible work in office, business, or fiscal administration, or comparable subordinate technical work in a professional, scientific, or technical field, requiring, in either case-1) considerable training or other experience-2)broad working knowledge of a special and complex subject matter, or the principals of the profession or art or science involved.3) to a considerable extent the exercise of independent judgment.


Note the distinctions in the words between a gs 7 vs gs6

Note the distinctions in the words between a GS 7 vs. GS6

  • Pretty much the same except work for a GS –7 is of considerable difficulty and considerable responsibility (instead of work of difficulty and responsibility – GS 6)

  • Requires considerable specialized training (vs. considerable training – GS 6)

  • Requires comprehensive working knowledge of a special and complex subject matter (vs. broad working knowledge of a special and complex subject matter – GS 6)


Points to keep in mind when prepping your appeal

Points to Keep in Mind when Prepping your appeal

  • Show your strengths– don’t be shy, but don’t exaggerate either.

  • Look at your PD and determine if it’s accurate and if not, describe the inaccuracies.

  • Identify the kinds of assignments you’ve had in the last year.

  • Bring any written guidance that identifies the type of work you do.


Points for prepping continued

Points for Prepping (continued)

  • List your major duties and a rough percentage how much time each takes. Minor duties usually are not critical, but could be, particularly if they show impact on higher grade level work.

  • What duties do you work on regularly and continually? (vs. one-time only or temporary)

  • Consider how independently you work – how much you rely on others.

  • Consider your level of education and training.

  • Identify your responsibilities.


Points for prepping continued1

Points for Prepping (continued)

  • Identify anything important about your job.

  • How does your supervisor review your work?

  • Look at your performance plan.

  • Organize your information.

  • Determine if it’s more accurate to claim that you are doing higher grade work and show that you are – (guideline again, at least 25% for major duties).

  • Remember the classifier goes over the 9 factors as listed in the PDs.


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