Suitability and Appeals
We specialize in representing federal employees, government contractors, and applicants in suitability responses and appeals. If you are facing a suitability denial or appeal, it is essential to seek the advice of a lawyer who is familiar with these issues. Our team of experts can assist individuals in all stages of the suitability process. This includes providing legal representation during the investigation, response, and appeals process. Our lawyers provide legal advice and representation to individuals throughout the United States before all federal agencies.

Suitability is a review of an individual's background by a federal agency. It can also be referred to as a fitness investigation. Potential suitability issues can arise when a background investigation is completed, or new events occur. After the completion of a suitability investigation, federal agencies review the results. The focus of a suitability investigation is on an individual's character or past conduct. In most cases, suitability is governed by the Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR 731). Under these regulations, federal agencies have the authority to conduct suitability determinations to decide if the employment or continued employment of individuals is in the best interests of the federal government. The Department of Defense has published an excellent example of the suitability process. It's important to note that a suitability determination is different from a security clearance investigation, although the two processes are often confused.

Examples of Suitability Issues That Arise
The following are just a few examples of potential suitability issues that can arise:

- Use of marijuana/drug use
- Criminal activity
- Misconduct in the workplace
- Time and attendance issues
- Prior terminations from employment
- Excessive alcohol use
- Psychological conditions

Suitability Responses and Appeals
Suitability issues can arise during an individual's initial application or re-investigation. If a federal agency denies an individual's suitability for employment, they should appeal where possible. Suitability or fitness denials can result in not obtaining a position or removal from existing employment. Each federal agency has unique procedures for handling suitability appeals. Many individuals can appeal denials to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). In suitability appeals, it is crucial to retain counsel to respond to allegations fully and to attempt to demonstrate the individual's fitness for employment.

Suitability responses and appeals involve preparing a detailed written response to any negative issues identified by the agency. Additionally, exhibits will often need to be submitted, and these may include character letters, evidence of good performance, resumes, and other supporting documents.