What is a "Desk Audit" and how can it protect you?
Posted By The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service || 17-Feb-2015
The federal government requires that positions and duties be properly classified so that, for among other reasons, employees can be paid according to the duties they are performing. To fulfill this responsibility, the Office of Personnel Management approves and issues position classification standards that must be used by agencies to determine the title, series, and grade of positions covered by Title 5, United States Code. Each agency has an HR specialist called a “classifier” whose duties include properly classifying the occupational series and grade for each agency position.
Sometimes, a federal employee is assigned additional duties and responsibilities as a result of job growth, or perhaps through unplanned circumstances. This is referred to as an “accretion of duties.” If the employee believes that he or she is performing duties consistent with a higher-paid position, and certain other conditions are met, the employee may be eligible for an “accretion of duties” promotion. This is a non-competitive promotion by which employees performing work above their General Schedule (GS) grade level can seek to have their grade level reclassified to a level commensurate with the work they actually are performing.
The first step in seeking an accretion of duties promotion is requesting a desk audit, which is the method used for obtaining information about a position.. This can be requested by the classifier, the employee, or the employee’s supervisor. The desk audit involves interviews held by the classifier with the employee and the supervisor. A position desk audit focuses solely on the current work assigned and does not address hypothetical or projected duties. Positions are classified based on major regular and recurring duties. Minor or temporary duties do not affect the position’s classification. Additionally, volume of work is not grade controlling but rather a position management consideration. Finally, a classification determination should not address concerns regarding an individual employee’s qualifications, promotion, or work performance.
If certain other conditions are met, the incumbent employee may receive an accretion of duties promotion. However, this is not a certainty, and in fact the desk audit may result in the position being reclassified to a lower grade – in essence, a demotion.
The desk audit process, including whether to conduct a desk audit or to grant an accretion of duties promotion, is protected by the same employment rights inhering in other aspects of federal employment. It is possible that a request for a desk audit might be denied in a discriminatory or retaliatory way, or the desk audit conducted unlawfully, or any number of other unlawful acts that unfortunately may be present in the federal employment sector.
If you are a federal employee who believes you have been unfairly denied a promotion, whether competitive or non-competitive, you may need experienced legal counsel to help you fight. The skilled federal employment attorneys at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service are knowledgeable about the laws and protections to which federal employees are entitled. They are experienced in fighting for the rights of federal employees against discriminatory and retaliatory acts in the federal government workplace. If you are a federal employee facing unlawful denial of a promotion, illegal retaliation or reprisal, or another legal problem related to your federal employment, contact the capable federal employment attorneys at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service for a case evaluation.