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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Human Resources Specialist (Litigation)
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Food Safety and Inspection Service
Job Announcement Number:  FSIS-MCE-2013-0043

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$105,211.00 to $136,771.00 / Per Year
Monday, April 08, 2013 to Friday, April 12, 2013
Full-time - Permanent
2 vacancies in the following location:
Washington DC Metro Area, DC, US

This position is opened to all eligible United States Citizens. No prior federal government experience is required.

Note:  This position is also being announced under Merit Promotion announcement number FSIS-MMP-2013-0467.  Current and former eligible applicants with competitive status  and applicants with noncompetitive status should be sure to apply to that announcement.


The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health regulatory agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Our mission is to protect consumers by ensuring that the commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products moving in interstate commerce or exported to other countries is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged.

JOIN A GREAT FSIS TEAM! This is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to join the next generation of leaders in a position directly involved in litigation. In this position, you will have visibility and a presence as a key participant in USDA-wide litigation matters.

 Non-Federal candidates with three or more years of active duty military service and disabled veterans can apply to both the case exam announcement and to this announcement. 

This position is covered by the Public Health Human Resources (PHHRS) Demonstration Project. Effective July 19, 2009, FSIS began operating under the PHHRS, a Pay Banding and Pay for Performance Demonstration Project, in which non-bargaining unit positions will be classified by career path, occupational series, and pay bands rather than the traditional General Schedule (GS) grades in the Federal Service. The AP-5 pay band is equivalent to the GS-14 level. PHHRS will offer flexibility to offer exceptional candidates higher salaries than most other Federal agencies. Additionally, employees will be eligible to receive an annual pay increase based upon performance. For more information on PHHRS, including information on its pay tables and how it will benefit employees, please visit:

This position will be located in the Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA), Enforcement and Litigation Division, Hearings and Appeals Branch.

If you are found to be one of the best-qualified candidates or a non-competitive referral and will be referred to the selecting official for job consideration, you may be asked to develop a written response to narrative/essay type questions in the second round of the application process. If this applies to you, you will be contacted by an agency representative.

Please keep your records updated with your current email address.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service offer transit subsidies and flexible work schedules in some locations.


  • This position may require travel.
  • This is a public trust position requiring a background investigation.
  • Current FSIS employees do not need to submit DD214, SF50 or appraisal.
  • Check your status throughout the hiring process@


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This is an excellent opportunity for those seeking a greater leadership role and responsibility in litigation that directly affects the outcome of Agency and Department cases! You will have a dynamic, multifaceted role participating with key management officials in litigation matters within FSIS and USDA. The Hearings and Appeals Branch is responsible for providing litigation services for FSIS’ approximately 10,000 employee workforce located across diverse geographical locations nationwide. HAB litigation covers, among others, representation of FSIS before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Labor Arbitrators, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). HAB also develops and recommends agency-wide litigation policies and strategies to improve employees relations, merit promotion systems and programs; and develops legal instruments, legal opinions, settlements and other legal documentation that often present new policy or solutions to complex and unprecedented issues involving MSPB, EEOC, FLRA or arbitration laws.

The incumbent is a member of the litigation team that provides litigation services for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).  The duties of the incumbent may include, but are not limited to:

  • Serves as a technical expert and participates with the Branch Chief in planning, developing, and implementing an effective program of hearings and appeals.
  • Reviews Reports of Investigations on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) cases and for proposed disciplinary and adverse actions against civilian employees.
  • Assesses and answers jurisdictional questions for proceedings before the MSPB and the EEOC.
  • Conducts extensive research of complex legal and factual issues and interprets and applies Federal sector regulations, statutes, and case precedents when available or, when not, recommends theories consistent with the law, legal precedents, and management interests.
  • Researches, drafts, and prepares pleadings, discovery, show cause orders, dispositive and procedural motions, appellate and other briefs, and other documents preparatory or incident to the hearings.
  • Evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Agency’s actions.
  • Furnishes advice, counsel, and guidance to Agencies on legal matters within the scope of the branch’s area of responsibility.
  • Serves as advisor on a wide variety of matters ranging from simple to complex.


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See Qualification Requirements.

Applicants must meet the specialized experience requirement for this position. 

Specialized Experience: The specialized experience required for this position is specific and must be reflected in your application. Examples of creditable specialized experience include preparing for hearings and adjudicating cases before administrative bodies: i.e. MSPB, EEOC, the FLRA, FSIP, and independent arbitrators. Specialized experience may also include formulation and implementation of policies, programs, and procedures governing third party proceedings. Substantial regular and recurring experience as a principal representative before third parties is required for this position, and must be clearly reflected in your application and/or resume. Specialized experience may be gained in a number of ways, but must meet the definition above, in any case.

Specialized experience may be met by:  At least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 level in the federal service. At least 52 weeks equivalent to the next lower PHHRS pay band (e.g. Band 4) level in the federal service. At least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower comparable pay band in another pay system. A combination of pay band and GS experience that meets the specialized experience requirements. At least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level of the following: Non-Federal (private sector) or a combination of Non-Federal and Federal (GS or pay band) experience that meets the definition of the specialized experience requirements. Your resume must clearly reflect this experience, including the number of months of full-time work or percentages for combinations of work that clearly show that you meet the specialized experience requirements. 


  • Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates.  Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of the following quality categories:  Best Qualified, Well Qualified and Qualified.  Placement into these categories will be based on an evaluation tool tied to specific competencies relevant to this position. 
  • Veterans' Preference eligible's will receive rating and selection priority over non-preference eligible candidates within each category.  Veterans who provide proof of a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are listed in the highest quality category.
  • Regardless of quality category, all requirements for this position must be met, including a complete application package that supports your answers to the Assessment Questionnaire.  You are strongly encouraged to ensure that your work history thoroughly documents the duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments that are directly related to this position. 
  • If the Human Resources Office is not able to verify specialized experience based on what you provide you may miss consideration for one or more vacancies. 
  • The Human Resources Office will not conduct up front reviews and will not request missing documentation.
  • If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your description of experience and/or education or that your application is incomplete, you may be assigned an "ineligible" rating. 

To preview questions please click here.


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The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. For an overview, please visit: Benefits Of Working For The Federal Government.

We are a qualifying employer of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. For more information on the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, please visit: Student Aid On The Web



  • Multiple selections may be made from this vacancy announcement.
  • Entitlement to the payment of relocation expenses will be determined in accordance with the provisions outlined in FSIS Directive 3820.2. 3.
  • In addition to a background investigation, a financial disclosure statement may be required.
  • FSIS utilizes E-Verify to verify identity and employment eligibility by providing to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information from each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. E-Verify cannot be used to pre-screen job applicants or to re-verify current employees and may not limit or influence the choice of documents presented for use on the Form I-9. If you have concern that there has been a violation of the E-Verify program or you feel you have been discriminated during the verification process based on your national origin or citizenship status, contact the Office of Special Counsel at 1-800-255-7688 (TDD: 1-800-237-2515). For more information on E-Verify you may contact DHS at 1-888-464-4218.
  • This position may be eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements.
  • Selective Service: If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. See Selective Service
  • Background Investigation:  Employment is contingent upon satisfactory completion of a background investigation and granting of a federal suitability or security clearance.
  • EEO Policy Statement
  • Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement


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  • You must begin the application process online at You will be required to submit a resume, respond to core questions, and the online vacancy questions. Completed applications include: COMPLETED ON-LINE APPLICATION INCLUDES:
  • Your on-line resume. Resumes are entered into USAJOBS. Resumes can be copied and pasted into the personal information area of your application from other word processing documents.
  • Answers to all core questions (completed when registering on- line in USAJOBS and as part of the initial application process).
  • Answers to all vacancy-specific questions (Completed for each job). Please allow yourself time to complete any narrative responses.
  • Via fax imaging or uploading, provide any supplemental documents needed. Current and former Federal employees must submit an SF-50 by the closing date. Applicants who do not respond to the on-line vacancy questions and who do not submit supporting resumes will be rated ineligible. If applying on-line poses a hardship, please contact our office well before the closing date for alternative methods.

PLEASE NOTE: Multiple selections may be made from this vacancy announcement.


  • Current FSIS employees do not need to submit and supplemental documentation. However, Federal employees from other agencies and those applying for reinstatement need to send their SF-50 form that documents the highest permanent grade they have held and their competitive status.
  • If you claim ICTAP/CTAP eligibility, please provide a copy of your most recent performance appraisal (at least "fully successful" or equivalent), and proof of eligibility, i.e., a RIF separation notice or Certification of Expected Separation, and a SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location.
  • Applicants applying under VEOA must submit a DD-214.
  • Applicants applying under other special hiring authorities must submit documents relative to the authority they are applying under in order to establish eligibility.

You may contact us during the announcement open period if you need if you need further clarification. Supporting documentation should be sent using the fax imaging instructions after you have applied for the vacancy announcement. Faxing Supporting Documentation: The next step of the application process is to fax all the required supporting documentation specified in the Required Documents section of this vacancy announcement. You do not need to have all of your supporting documentation submitted in order to continue with the online portion of the application process. Please carefully follow the instructions below to ensure your supporting documents are properly faxed and received. All required documents must be received by midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. ***Not all of the document types listed will pertain to you; only submit documents needed to complete YOUR application package.



  1. If you have faxed supporting documentation the status of those documents will indicate Received. There is no need to resubmit documents which show a status of received unless you are submitting an updated copy. (If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the human resources office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing, a previous submission, you must fax both the old document and the new document for them both to be accessible to HR.)
  2. You must use a separate cover sheet for each category of supporting documentation (i.e., transcripts, SF-50, DD-214). Choose the document cover sheet(s) you would like to print by selecting the appropriate check boxes in the Selected Documents column.
  3. Click the [Print Cover Sheets] button. A window will pop up containing the fax cover sheet(s) you selected. Print the cover sheet (s). NOTE: You must be connected to a printer in order to print the cover sheets. Additionally, you must allow pop-ups.
  4. Once you have reviewed the list of documents and printed any required fax cover sheets click on [Done]. You will be moved forward in the application process.
  5. Before faxing your document(s), take care to ensure the document is legible and all information is complete and signed, if necessary. Fax only documents which are clear and legible. Original documents with light or faded print and/or dark or patterned backgrounds will not be legible upon receipt. Illegible faxed documents cannot be used for qualification or verification purposes.
  6. Place the corresponding cover sheet on top of the document and fax the cover sheet and document together to the fax number specified on the cover sheet. NOTE: If you are faxing documents from more than one category of supporting documentation, you must submit them with the appropriate cover sheet. EACH DOCUMENT TYPE MUST BE FAXED SEPARATELY under its corresponding cover sheet. DO NOT FAX ALL DOCUMENTS TYPES UNDER ONE COVER SHEET. (i.e., Transcripts are one type of document; fax all pages of your transcript and other education-related documents under the transcript cover sheet; the SF-50 is another document type, if you are faxing more than one SF-50, fax them all under the SF-50 cover sheet.)
  7. Be sure to save these cover sheets in the event you need to re- fax your supporting documents. Each fax transmission includes a unique identification number and bar code, which ensures your document is processed correctly.
  8. You will receive an e-mail confirming the fax has been successfully received by Human Resources. You should retain your e- mail confirmation and confirmation of your fax transmittal report as proof of submission. Your application will be considered incomplete and YOU WILL BE FOUND INELIGIBLE if you fail to submit the required documentation as specified under the required documents section by midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.


Shannon R. Sarbo
Phone: 612-659-8564
Fax: 612-370-2376
TDD: 800-877-8339
Agency Information:
Human Resources Field Office
Butler Square West, Suite 420C
100 North 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-370-2376


Once your complete application is received we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking. The most highly qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview. PLEASE READ: During this process, WE WILL UPDATE YOUR status FOR EACH VACANCY ON THE USAJOBS WEB-SITE. Please continue to review your online status

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EEO Policy Statement | Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement | Veterans Information | Legal and Regulatory Guidance