This is a very specific area of law. I added tags to increase the chance of a response from the great community of AVVO lawyers who give so much of their time to assist the public.
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From dealing with Navy Region SW for many years, I can tell you that what happened to you is very common. It often amazes me that HRSC keeps finding new ways to make mistakes, yet that is what happens. Part of the problem is that the budget for civilian personnel has been greatly reduced over the past ten or so years, so the employees in HRSC are doing far more work than they should be doing. It's a recipe for disaster.
There federal government does not provide a formal structure to appeal or protest a mistake by HR. You should keep contacting HRSC. Be polite but persistant. Get the names of everyone you speak with and keep a record of what was said and the date and time of the call. You can also send faxes and letters (keep copies) asking about the status of the investigation.
But . . . I have no confidence that anything you do will remain within HR. HR may communicate to the selecting official that you are a pain, which of course will hurt your chances of being the successful candidate. Of course HR is not supposed to do this, but HR has given me a lot of reasons to mistrust it.
And failure to hire cases are extremely difficult because the agency has a lot of leeway in who it selects and proving the hiring violated a statute or regulation often requires being able to prove what someone was thinking.
I'm sorry this happened to you, especially these days when jobs are so hard to come by. I hope you can achieve some kind of resolution.
Marilynn Mika Spencer
twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***