How to Appeal the Classification of Your Federal Position


You might be able to file an appeal with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) if you’re a federal employee with a misclassified job position. The process is complex, so hiring an experienced lawyer to assist you is essential. They can determine if you qualify for an appeal and handle each step on your behalf.

What You Can Do If Your Job Isn’t Classified Correctly

You should try to resolve the issue with your employer before appealing to the OPM. A manager or supervisor might be able to address your concerns. However, if they don’t fix the problem or clarify why your job is classified as it is, you can speak with someone in the human resources department.

Request a copy of the position classification standards for your job. If you still believe your position is misclassified after the human resources employee reviews it with you, bring the description to your supervisor or manager. They can explain the description to you or recommend a reevaluation.

The human resources office will conduct the reevaluation. A specialist from the department might decide to perform a desk audit. That involves interviewing you and your supervisor about your job responsibilities and duties.

A desk audit aims to determine what you do for your job and the difficulty level of the work. During the interview with the human resources specialist, you must outline your primary duties and your role in the unit or agency’s operations. It might seem tempting, but you should avoid exaggerating or downplaying your responsibilities.

The specialist should complete the interview with a thorough and accurate understanding of your position, its importance to the agency, and how hard it is for you to complete the required tasks.

Filing an Appeal with OPM

You can file an appeal with the OPM if you disagree with your agency’s decision about your job classification. You must file within fifteen days of your agency’s decision. Missing the deadline can prevent you from pursuing an appeal. However, you might be able to get an extension if something out of your control doesn’t allow you to file on time.

You’re allowed to prepare the appeal yourself, but letting an attorney handle it is beneficial. The appeal will include information such as:

  • Your name, phone number, address, and other contact information
  • The name of your agency or department and office
  • A copy of your official job description, including a statement confirming its accuracy or describing its inaccuracies in detail and the efforts made by your agency to correct the inaccuracies
  • Your current position classification and the new classification you’re requesting
  • Your city of employment and the office or agency’s mailing address
  • The argument in favor of the requested change in classification based on existing classification standards
  • Additional information that can help the OPM understand your job position 

When deciding on the appeal, the OPM will review the information you and your agency or office provide. It might also conduct interviews or desk audits to obtain relevant information about your job. Once there’s a decision, the OPM should notify you in writing.

Contact an Experienced Federal Employment Lawyer

Knowing the exact steps you must take to appeal a misclassified federal position is critical. Making a mistake or missing a strict deadline can leave you without options.

At the Vaughn Law Firm, we protect the rights of federal employees and provide guidance during complex legal procedures. We can assist you with your appeal and diligently work toward a favorable outcome.

Get started on your appeal by calling us at 1-877-615-9495 for a free consultation in Washington, DC, or Decatur, GA, today.