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HR Order DOJ1200.1: Part 2. Chapter 2-17 Compensation: Position Classification Appeals (March 26, 2004)

A.   References.


5 U.S.C. 5112

5 U.S.C. 5346(c)

Code of Federal Regulations

5 CFR Part 550, Subpart F
5 CFR Part 550, SubpartG


Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, Appendix 4, Position Classification Appeals

Position Classification Appeals (OPM Employee Fact Sheet)

Key terms

Classification appeal

Classification certificate

B.  Policy.

  1. This chapter contains the policy regarding position classification appeals to the Department. General Schedule employees may appeal to the Department instead of or before appealing to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and prevailing rate (wage grade) employees MUST appeal to the Department before continuing an appeal to OPM. Heads of components shall ensure that employees are free from intimidation, restraint, interference, coercion, harassment, discrimination, or reprisal in pursuing their appeals.
  2. Coverage. All General Schedule employees in grades GS-1 through 15 and all prevailing rate employees have the right to appeal the classification of their positions, including the pay plan, series, and grade.
  3. Appeals to the Department.
    1. Employees of components with delegated position classification authority must begin an appeal to the Department by appealing to the head of their component. If they are dissatisfied with the written decision of the component head, they may continue the appeal to the Department by notifying the Director of Personnel, Justice Management Division.
    2. Employees of components without delegated position classification authority may appeal within the Department directly to the Assistant Attorney General for Administration.
  4. Appellant's Representative.
    1. When preparing and presenting a classification appeal, an employee has the right to be represented and advised by a person of his or her own choosing, except that components shall have the right to disallow the employee's choice when:
      1. The representative selected is another Department of Justice employee and the choice of that employee conflicts with the priority needs of the Government or would result in unreasonable costs to the Government; or
      2. The representative selected represents a conflict of interest or conflict of position, or the appearance of such conflict (e.g., the proposed representative is in the management chain over the position, or the proposed representative exercises classification authority for the appealed position or others in the organization).
    2. When a component disallows an employee's selected representative, the component will notify the employee in writing and explain the reason(s).
  5. Official Time. Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of official time to prepare and present a position classification appeal. Under most circumstances, this should amount to 8 hours or fewer. However, supervisors and managers are expected to use judgment and discretion in granting employee requests of official time for this purpose; more than 8 hours may be appropriate on rare occasions. If an employee's representative is a Department employee, the representative is also entitled to a reasonable amount of official time for the same purpose.
  6. Excluded Items. Employees may not appeal the following items in a position classification appeal. However, the matters in paragraphs 6.a. through c. may be addressed through the Department's administrative grievance procedures, or through the negotiated grievance process, as appropriate.
    1. Actions taken by authorized management officials to add to, delete from, or otherwise change the duties and responsibilities of a position. Inclusion or exclusion of a major duty in the official position description, or the accuracy of the position description, are non-appealable matters. (Note: 5 CFR 511.607(a)(1) provides that where, in the course of a proper classification appeal to OPM, management and the employee cannot agree on the accuracy of the position description, OPM will decide the appeal based upon the actual duties and responsibilities assigned by management and performed by the employee.)
    2. The accuracy, consistency, or use of Department supplemental classification guides.
    3. The title of the position, unless a specific title is authorized in a published OPM position classification standard or guide, or the title reflects a qualification requirement or authorized area of specialization.
    4. The classification of a position to which the employee is not officially assigned by an official personnel action, including a detail or assignment to duties outside the scope of the normally performed duties specified in the official position description.
    5. The pay system, series, or grade of a position to which the employee is detailed or temporarily promoted. However, an employee serving under a time-limited promotion of 2 years or more may appeal the position's classification.
    6. A proposed classification decision not yet made effective by an official personnel action.
    7. The adequacy of the classification criteria in any OPM published classification guide or standard.
    8. An appellate classification decision issued in the form of a certificate by OPM as a result of a Department or employee appeal, when there has been no change in the applicable classification standard(s) or guide(s), or in the major duties and responsibilities assigned the position.
    9. The classification of the employee's position based on position-to-position comparisons and not criteria in classification standards.
    10. A rate of pay or the propriety of a wage schedule rate.
    11. Any other issues, not specifically mentioned above, which the adjudicating office determines are excluded from appeal under the provisions of OPM regulations and pertinent statute.
  7. Appeal Decisions. An appeal decision from OPM which specifies the correct title (if one is prescribed), series, grade, and/or pay system of a position is a classification certificate. A classification certificate is binding on all administrative, certifying, payroll, disbursing, and accounting officials of the Government. It may or may not require an official personnel action. If a personnel action is required as a result of the classification certificate, such personnel action must be implemented within the time frame specified by the decision. Appeal decisions rendered by the Department are binding on components in the same manner as OPM decisions are binding on the Department.
  8. Time Limits.
    1. An employee may submit an appeal of the classification of his or her official position to the Department or to OPM at any time. When an employee appeals to OPM a decision to downgrade his or her position, the employee must file the appeal within 15 calendar days following receipt of the decision, to preserve the right to a retroactive effective date if the appeal decision corrects a classification action which resulted in loss of grade or pay.
    2. When an employee requests reconsideration of an OPM appeal decision, he or she must do so in writing to OPM and must file the request no more than 45 calendar days after the decision was issued.

C.  Documentation.

  1. Appeals to the Department.
    1. All appeals to the Department must be submitted in writing and must include the following information:
      1. Employee's name, mailing address, and office telephone number;
      2. Name, address, and telephone number of the employee's designated representative, if one has been selected;
      3. Exact location of the position within the Department, including the name of the bureau or OBD and all subordinate organizations;
      4. Current title, series, and grade of the position;
      5. Requested title, series, and grade, or other classification action desired;
      6. A copy of the official position description and a statement from the employee that the position description is accurate and complete (if not accurate and complete, include a statement describing what has been done to change or update the position description);
      7. A statement of reasons why the employee believes the position is erroneously classified, including any references to position classification standards in support; and
      8. A statement that the employee has no other classification appeals pending.
    2. The Department will notify the employee in writing when a position classification appeal to the Department is accepted.
    3. The Department will notify components in writing when a position classification appeal to the Department is accepted from an employee, and components will be requested to provide pertinent information about the appealed position.
    4. An employee may cancel his or her position classification appeal before a decision is issued, but must do so in writing. The Department will provide written acknowledgment of the cancellation to the employee and to the component.
    5. An appeal decision from the Department will be issued in writing as a classification certificate, and will be based on the written record. The certificate will inform the employee of the reasons for the decision, including reference to the appropriate OPM classification standard(s) or guide(s); will explain any further appeal rights; and will specify the action to be taken and the effective date for any change in the classification.
  2. Appeals to OPM. Classification appeals submitted directly to OPM must follow the prescribed format and include the required information, as specified in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, Appendix 4. This information is also included in the OPM Employee Fact Sheet, Position Classification Appeals.

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Updated October 6, 2021