Email to a friend

Ruling Expands Veterans’ Access to Federal Jobs

A recent decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board could open hundreds of law enforcement and other jobs to veterans who previously bumped up against age restrictions during the application process.

MSPB ruled on July 2 that the State Department must waive maximum entry age requirements for veterans applying to become special agents at the Diplomatic Security Service.

The case, Isabella v. Department of State, stems from a claim filed by Robert Isabella, a preference-eligible veteran who applied for a special agent position at the department. The job description called for someone 37 or younger; Isabella was 36 when he applied and when he turned 37, the agency stopped processing his application. The reasoning was that he was too close to the cutoff age.

But MSPB found that this violated Isabella’s rights under the 1944 Veterans Preference Act, the 1998 Veterans Employment Opportunities Act, and the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The ruling pointed to a section of the Veterans Preference Act that requires federal agencies to waive maximum age rules for preference-eligible applicants unless the age requirement is essential to the performance of the work.

The board determined that in this case the sole purpose of the age restriction was to allow agents to enjoy a full career before reaching the mandatory retirement age, which is normally 57, but can be extended three years to 60 if the agency has a particular need.

“Being 37 is not critical to the job,” said Mathew Tully, the attorney who represented Isabella, on Tuesday. “[State] has special agents up to age 60, and if you could be 60 and a special agent, it’s not a critical element of the job.” MSPB ordered State to waive the age requirement for Isabella and finish processing his application.

Tully said the ruling opens up to veterans 280 federal law enforcement and firefighter jobs that used to have age restrictions. The only other field that is not covered by the ruling is air traffic control, which has a maximum entry age of 30. But Tully said the ruling for law enforcement positions would make winning a second case for air traffic control “relatively easy.”

“It’s crucial that veterans are knowledgeable about the laws that can help them get an edge in federal employment,” Tully said. “The more who know, the more who will become federal employees.”


Attorney Locator

Find an attorney near you.
Click below.

Contact Us

  • Tully Rinckey announces new hires and promotion

    Derrick T. Hogan was promoted to senior associate, overseeing the criminal defense practice in Albany. Hogan joined as a law clerk in 2009. Morgan Smith joined as recruitment manager. Smith has more than 14 years of staffing and recruitment experience and previously …

  • Albany Police Officer Arrested

    Officer Caught on Camera Slamming 15-Year old Girl Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox says on July 26th, Officer Ervis Miftari was called to St. Anne Institute, a rehabilitation center for troubled girls, to help with one of the residents, who …

Read All

  • Free Download: EEOC 2016 Update White Paper

    You Could Be Sharing Confidential Info and Not Even Know It Tully Rinckey’s white paper details the Equal Employment Opportunity’s (“EEOC”) nationwide change to procedure that has gone largely unnoticed. The new procedure applies to Charges filed on or after …

Read All

Read All

  • Tully Rinckey PLLC Binghamton Office Ribbon Cutting

    You’re Invited: Tully Rinckey PLLC Binghamton Office Ribbon Cutting Tully Rinckey PLLC, an upstate-wide coast-to-coast 70 attorney full-service law firm, is holding a ribbon cutting for its new office space at 4100 Vestal Road, Suite 104, Vestal, NY 13850 on …

Read All