Position classification determines the occupational category, title, grade, and career path. The
position is classified based on the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required to do the work as described in the position description. The pay range for a position is determined by the occupational
category and grade of the position. Persons doing like jobs will be paid within the same pay range
regardless of personal attributes and qualifications, i.e., equal pay for substantially equal work.
Classification of both Federal and Trust Fund positions at SAO is based on classification
standards issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. These standards are used to determine the
occupational category, title and grade of your position. Your position is assigned an official job
title based on the duties and responsibilities described in your position description, but to meet
operational needs your supervisor may assign a working title to your position. For example,
although your official job title may be Computer Specialist, your working title may be Systems
It is important to remember that it is the duties and responsibilities of the position that is classified and not you as a person. There are a number of factors that are not considered when jobs are classified such as:
- The qualifications of the person in the job. The work is classified, not the abilities of
- Performance of the individual in the job. All employees are expected to perform successfully
no matter what the grade of their positions. Positions are classified based on the assigned
duties and responsibilities, not on how well the incumbent carries them out.
- Volume of work done. It is the kind and level of complexity of the work that is important in
classifying jobs, not the quantity of work.
- Length of Smithsonian or government service.
- Titles of positions. Grades are based on the duties and responsibilities of jobs, not on what
jobs are called.
If you have questions regarding your classification, i.e., your grade, title or occupational
designation, you should discuss them with your supervisor. If you believe that your grade or
occupational designation is wrong, you should first talk with your supervisor about whether or
not your position classification may be reviewed. If you still feel that your occupational designation
grade may be incorrect, you may appeal your job classification to the SI Office of Human
Resources. Civil Service employees have the option of appealing directly to the U.S. Office of
Personnel Management. Before appealing, you and your supervisor must agree on a job
description that is current and accurate.
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