Last year, an independent arbitrator ruled that the Internal Revenue Service violated federal law when it required applicants for its revenue agent position to have six credits more of accounting over what was needed for any other federal professional accounting position.The arbitrator held that the IRS had not, and could not, prove that the additional six hours - which increased the minimum requirement from 24 to 30 semester hours - were necessary for successful performance of the job. Therefore, it was in violation of 5 USC E3308, which requires that justification be shown before extra educational requirements can be imposed for federal jobs.

The NTEU challenged the agency's decision to arbitrate because the move by the IRS had the practical effect of barring many current talented, experienced and well-educated IRS employees from even being considered for promotion to open revenue agent positions - and it seemed to have a particularly heavy impact on minorities.

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