Civil Service Commission Appeal Guidelines
Role of the Civil Service Commission
The New York State Civil Service Commission (the Commission) is an independent body that hears and determines appeals submitted by candidates, state employees, state agencies or NYS employee unions who object to final determinations made by the New York State Department of Civil Service (the Department). The jurisdiction of the Commission is set forth in the State Civil Service Law and Rules.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What matters are commonly appealed to the State Civil Service Commission?
- Are there Appeals the Commission DOES NOT Consider or Determine?
- How do you File an Appeal?
- How are Appeals Processed?
- How are Appeals Heard?
- How are Appeal Decisions Issued?
- Can an Appeal be Withdrawn?
The full range of the Commission’s jurisdiction can be found in the Appendix.
A. Common Subjects of Appeals
Medical/Physical examination determinations by the Department’s Employee Health Service
Job classification and salary allocation determinations by the Department’s Division of Classification and Compensation
Disqualifications of Examination Applicants and Individuals on Eligible Lists by the Department’s Staffing and Testing Services Divisions and Investigations Unit
B. Appeals the Commission DOES NOT Consider or Determine
Final determinations of local civil service commissions or personnel officers, including local employee disciplinary matters
Probationary terminations of NYS employees (Decisions to terminate the employment of a probationer are made by the employee’s appointing authority and are not appealable to the Commission)
Matters related to the internal management of the Department of Civil Service
Matters related to administration of the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) for eligible employees, dependent beneficiaries or covered retirees
Actions or determinations that have been approved in advance by the Commission, including examination rating keys (answers) that have received prior approval
Complaints from inmates of local and State Correctional Facilities
State employee labor-management matters that must be addressed through the collective bargaining process, such as grievances commenced under provisions of the State collective bargaining agreements (contracts) or salary disputes
Determinations of disciplinary actions brought against State employees pursuant to provisions of collective bargaining agreements (contracts)
Matters where the Department has not yet issued its final determination
Employment discrimination matters within the jurisdiction of the State Division of Human Rights and/or federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
C. Filing an Appeal
A copy of the final determination letter from the Department of Civil Service
All information and arguments in support of the appeal
If the particular statute or regulation is silent as to the time period within which an appeal shall be filed, appellants must file with the Commission within thirty (30) days of receiving the final determination letter indicating the subject of the appeal or sixty (60) days if the appeal pertains to a Division of Classification and Compensation determination.
*In rare cases, the Commission may permit appeals beyond these deadlines, but the Commission is not required to consider appeals that were not initiated during the statutory time frames.
There is no filing or processing fee for submitting a Commission appeal.Special Guidance for Candidates Considering Appealing an EHS Determination
Appeals should not be submitted for candidate color vision disqualification determinations without the appellant first having their own physician administer the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue Test (including an immediate retest if the appellant fails the first attempt) as advised by the Employee Health Service (EHS). The Farnsworth-Munsell test results should be submitted directly to the EHS.
The Civil Service Commission WILL NOT grant requests for candidate retests of failed drug tests.
The Commission has denied all appeals of failed drug tests based upon unintended inhalation of unknown controlled substances (for example: claims of second-hand smoke exposure at a party, in a car, etc.).
The Commission has denied all appeals of failed drug tests based upon ingestion of unknown controlled substances (for example: claims of controlled substances used as an ingredient in food, beverages, etc.).
D. Processing an Appeal
When a completed appeal submission is received, Commission staff will review the appeal to ensure that it was timely filed and that the Commission has jurisdiction over the subject of the appeal.
If the Commission does not have jurisdiction over the appeal, Commission staff will transmit a letter (US Certified Mail; Return Receipt Requested) to the appellant advising that the appeal has not been accepted for review. A lack of jurisdiction over the appeal ends the appellate process.
If the appeal was timely filed and the Commission has jurisdiction over the appeal, Commission staff will transmit a letter (US Certified Mail: Return Receipt Requested) notifying the appellant of the date, time and location the appeal has been scheduled for presentation to the State Civil Service Commission. The Commission hears appeals once every month (except for August, when the Commission does not meet). The Commission may reschedule an appeal as it deems appropriate, with prior notice provided to the affected parties.
If the appeal has been accepted for Commission review, an appellate Conference Attendance Form will also be included with the letter from Commission staff. Appellants who wish to present their appeals in person must return the signed completed Conference Attendance Form. If an appellant wishes to have a representative (i.e. attorney, advocate) and/or other attendees present for the conference, the names of all individuals appearing must also be provided on the Conference Attendance Form.
All Commission conferences are held in Albany, New York.
The Commission is not required to grant an appellate conference or otherwise personally meet or speak with the appellant or his/her representative when considering an appeal. Appellants may be present when their appeals are considered; however it is not required. An appellant will receive written notification if a request for an appellate conference has not been granted.
Appellants who are granted a conference before the Commission are expected to appear on the date and time assigned for the appeal. If an appellant declines, is denied, or fails to appear at a scheduled conference, the Commission will consider the appeal based upon the written record and any presentation from the Department, made at the Commission’s request.
E. Hearing the Appeal
In those cases where an appellant and/or a representative appear before the Commission, they will have the opportunity to present arguments in support of their positions. An appellant may also, as deemed appropriate by the Commission, present the statements of other advocates in support of their position. During the conference, appellants will have the opportunity to hear from and question representatives of the Department regarding the appeal.
The Commission may also request that representatives of a State agency appear at appellate conferences involving agency employment matters (for example, employee classification appeals or disqualification of candidates from appointment at a particular State agency). An appellant may be granted an opportunity to respond to information presented by the attending agency during the conference.
Conference proceedings are informal in nature; there is no verbatim record kept of the proceedings before the Commission and compliance with formal rules of evidence is not required. The Commission may limit the time for presentation of the appeal.
The record is typically closed at the conclusion of the conference. The Commission may determine the need for additional information and establish the time periods for submitting new information and appropriate responses. All additional information submitted to the Commission must be in writing. Commission staff will forward copies to all appropriate parties. After receiving all approved submissions, the record on the appeal will be closed.
F. Issuing the Appeal Decision
The Commission does not inform the parties of its decision at the appellate conference. After consideration of all information and arguments presented (including any new information requested and received after the appellate conference), the Commission will deliberate in private and determine whether an appeal shall be granted or denied.
A minimum of two Commissioners is required to hear and determine an appeal. Commission decisions do not have to be unanimous. A vote by a majority of the Commissioners present is required to grant or deny an appeal. In the event of a “tie” decision (i.e. a 1-1 vote by the Commissioners, if the Commission has only two members or one of the three Commissioners is absent or abstains), the Department’s final determination is deemed upheld and the appeal is denied. All appellate decisions of the Commission will be in writing. Commission staff will notify the appellant, and/or representative, of the final decision by US Certified Mail.
G. Withdrawing an Appeal Decision
Appellants can withdraw an appeal at any time prior to the appeal being heard by notifying the NYS Civil Service Commission:
Mail:New York State Civil Service Commission
Office of Commission Operations
Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 1
Albany, New York 12239
Hand or Courier Delivery:NYS Department of Civil Service
Empire State Plaza
Swan Street Building (Core 1) – First Floor
Albany, New York 12239
*For any questions not addressed in these guidelines, please contact the Office of Commission Operations at 518-473-6598 for further information.
Appendix: The Full Range of Commission Jurisdiction, with legal references
The following Civil Service Law (CSL) provisions and/or Civil Service Rules and Regulations provide a basis for appeals to the Commission:
- CSL section 6(5)
This section provides a general right to appeal many types of final administrative determinations of the Department of Civil Service. Certain types of appeals have specific authorizations in the CSL and Rules, as set forth below.
- CSL section 120(2) and 130(5)
Appeals from determinations of the Department’s Director of Classification and Compensation regarding the classification and/or salary allocation of positions in the State classified service.
- CSL section 72
Appeals from the Department’s Employee Health Service (EHS) determinations placing employees on involuntary leave for ordinary disability or denying individuals reinstatement from such leave.
- CSL section 76
Appeals from determinations in disciplinary actions brought pursuant to CSL section 75 against New York State employees serving in positions designated Managerial/Confidential.
- CSL section 71 and Classified Service Rules section 5.9(e) [Title 4 of New York Code, Rules and Regulations]
Appeals from determinations of EHS denying restoration to duty for employees following termination from employment due to an occupational illness or disease (Workers Compensation leave).
- Commission’s Regulations section 55.4(b) [Title 4 of New York Code, Rules and Regulations]
Appeals are not possible where the Commission has given prior approval of the examination rating key (list of correct answers).
- President’s Regulations section 66.4 [Title 4 of New York Code, Rules and Regulations]
Appeals of candidate disqualifications from examination or appointment by the Department’s Investigations Unit.
- 8. CSL section 159-a and President’s Regulations section 78.8 [Title 4 of New York Code, Rules and Regulations]
Appeals from certain State employees in Managerial/Confidential positions challenging mandatory enrollment in the State Income Protection Plan (IPP).
Note: As mandatory IPP enrollment for subject employees has been in place for almost thirty years, it is highly unlikely that any current IPP enrollee will be able to establish an exception to mandatory enrollment.