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Favorable Second-Level Determination Obtained for Federal Employee

By letter dated August 7, 2012, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a determination on appeal that one of our clients — a U.S. Department of Army employed based in Oklahoma — had not knowingly evaded his obligation to register with the Selective Service System.

This case involved a U.S. born citizen who had been employed by the Department of Army as a civilian since 2009. Interestingly, our client had disclosed the fact that he was not properly registered when he completed his OF 306 during the application process, but was hired anyway. In December 2010, OPM determined on a first-level review that the evidence submitted by our client failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that his failure to properly register was not the product of a knowing and willful act.

Following our engagement, the Army put our client on administrative leave pending his appeal to OPM. We were able to convince the Agency to reinstate our client (as is appropriate) pending OPM's review of the merits of our appeal in which we were able to prove that our client's father — himself an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran — submitted a registration form for his son soon after he turned 18. OPM determined that we had submitted sufficient evidence to establish that the fact that Selective Service had no record of our client's registration was not the product of a knowing and willful act on the part of our client.

This case is another example of how OPM is paying close attention to the merits of these cases and, when supported by proper evidence, routinely issues determinations that absolve individuals of intentionally avoiding their obligation to register with the Selective Service.

As a side note, OPM issued its ruling on this appeal in about five weeks — which, when compared to typical appeals, is extraordinarily fast. Further, as I have mentioned in the past, it is entirely possible that a change in the administration after November's elections could bring about a change in leadership and philosophy at OPM regarding Selective Service cases. Individuals who have failed to timely register with the Selective Service System should therefore strongly consider putting their cases before OPM now in the event the administration does change in the near future.