Employee Appeals Process

1) Overview of the Discipline Appeals Process

If an employee believe that the discipline is not for just cause, or that s/he did not violate a rule/policy/regulation, the employee has the right to file an appeal.  The employee must begin the appeal by submitting a completed Civil Service Form 5A to the Civil Service Board no later than ten (10) calendar days following the official date of receiving the Notice of Discipline (Civil Service Form 5).

2) Discipline Appeal Process Steps and filing an Opportunity to Appeal

a) ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS and FORMS needed:

i) CSB-300-01 Discipline Appeal Process and Opportunity to Appeal (procedure).
ii) CS Form 5 – Notice of Discipline & Opportunity to Appeal (completed form as issued by the Appointing Authority).
iii) CS Form 5A – Classified Employee Discipline Appeal Request.
iv) CSR Form 15 – Consent to Electronic Service, & Notice of Electronic Service Address.

b) Except when the most serious of circumstances have prevailed, the Appointing Authority shall provide the employee with Written Notice of the intended action detailing the reasons it believes that the employee violated a rule, policy, and/or regulation and as a result has decided to take disciplinary action to suspend, involuntarily demote for cause, administer a reclassification for cause, or terminate an employee from employment.

c) The employee must be given at least 5 working days to consider the written notice unless the circumstances were determined most serious.

i) When most serious, the Appointing Authority may elect to proceed directly to a Formal Notice of Disciplinary Hearing.

d) Following the 5 working days of consideration, an Informal Pre-Disciplinary Hearing must be conducted to provide the employee with an opportunity to respond to the Appointing Authority’s reasons and allegations of violations of rule, policy, and/regulations.  (The employee may request that the Informal Pre-Disciplinary Hearing be held earlier).

e) After the conclusion of the Informal Pre-Disciplinary Hearing, if the Appointing Authority decides to take formal disciplinary action and suspend, involuntarily demote for cause, or terminate the employee, it shall conduct a Formal Notice of Disciplinary Hearing and provide the employee a “Notice of Disciple and Opportunity to Appeal” (completed CS Form 5) outlining the violation and disciplinary action.

i) The employee should sign and date CS Form 5 to acknowledge receipt (if the employee refused to sign and date CS Form 5 the Appointing Authority shall note said refusal and sign /date). The Appointing Authority will provide the employee a copy of completed CS Form 5 at the conclusion of the meeting.

3) Employee Instructions for Filing an Appeal:

a) Under the Civil Service Act (Section 10), only Employees who have completed initial probation in the classified service have the right to appeal an Appointing Authority’s disciplinary action to the Civil Service Board.  Classified employees who unsuccessfully complete a “conditional probationary period” following promotion may not appeal such action to the Civil Service Board.

b) Employees who files an appeal must prove that the appointing authority/department did not have just cause to discipline the employee.

c) The employee shall review instructions to initiate the Opportunity to Appeal by visiting the Civil Service Board website (http://www.hccsb.org/)- Home Page (header) »FILE AN APPEAL for the latest forms and steps necessary when completing an appeal (CSB-300-01 Discipline Appeal Process and Opportunity to Appeal).

d) The employee is required to use the latest forms as released on the Civil Service Board website when filing an appeal as well as the timely submission within established timelines. Failure to do so may compromise your right to appeal.

e) Any concerns and/or questions please contact the Civil Service Board Office directly at 813-272-5625 or in person at 601 East Kennedy Blvd. 18th Floor Tampa Fl. 33602 (7:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday > Friday).

4) Filing an Opportunity to Appeal with the Civil Service Board Office:

a) When an employee feels her/his first amendment rights have been compromised at the conclusion of the Formal Notice of Disciplinary Hearing and issuance of CS Form 5 to the  employee, the employee may after careful consideration elect to formally file an ‘Opportunity to Appeal’ to the Civil Service Board.

b) Filing the ’Opportunity to Appeal’:

Remember an employee has ten [10] calendar days of receipt of CS Form 5 – the dismissal, suspension, or involuntary demotion for cause to submit completed forms CS Form 5A & CSR Form 15 to the Civil Service Board Office along with a copy of CS Form 5 as issued from the Appointing Authority.

5) The Appeal Hearing Process with the Civil Service Board:

a) The Civil Service Office compiles the supporting facts and evidence that has been forwarded to the Civil Service Board by the initiating employee and Appointing Authority. Notice to Appeal Hearings are scheduled in advance and are held after the normal monthly Civil Service Board Meetings.

6) Conducting the Hearing

a) When the appeal is filed, the employee is referred to as the “Appellant.”  An Appellant has the right to be heard publicly, to present evidence, and to be represented by legal counsel or an advocate who is not a witness in the case. The Appellant may present witness testimony or cross-examination of witnesses during a final evidentiary hearing, but not if the hearing is to consider a preliminary Motion.

b) The “Appellant” must prove during the hearing that the appointing authority/department did not have just cause to discipline the employee.

c) At the beginning of a hearing the General Counsel for the Civil Service Board will determine the order in which each party may make an opening statement.  Opening statements are made to inform the Civil Service Board of the facts that the party believes will be shown by the evidence as they relate to the alleged violation(s) of Civil Service Rules(s) or Agency policy(ies) and/or procedure(s).

d) During an evidentiary hearing, the party’s present facts and objective evidence to support or deny the Appointing Authority claims for a rules or policy violation. The party’s may call witnesses after the opening statements.  Each witness called by any party may be cross-examined by the opposing party. Re-direct examination shall be permitted but, re-cross examination shall be permitted only upon good cause. At the conclusion of examination by the parties, the Civil Service Board also has the opportunity to ask questions.

e) After the conclusion of the evidence and examination, each party is given the opportunity to present a closing argument. A closing argument is not evidence, but is designed to inform the Civil Service Board of each party’s position as to the facts demonstrated by the evidence and whether or not the alleged violation(s) of Civil Service Rules(s) or Agency policy(ies) and/or procedures(s) have been proven.

f) After closing argument, the Civil Service Board conducts its deliberations in open meeting.  The Civil Service Board is required to vote separately on each alleged violation.

7) Appeal Hearing Outcome

a) It is not part of the Civil Service Board’s function to determine whether the degree or type of action is appropriate. Therefore, the Civil Service Board may not reduce, increase or otherwise modify the action imposed upon the employee by the Agency Head. If the conduct which is proven establishes a violation of at least one of the Civil Service Rules, the action taken must be upheld in its entirety. If the conduct which is proven does not establish a violation of the Civil Service Rules, or if the action taken is found not to be for just cause, the action must be vacated in its entirety and the appellant placed in the same position that he or she would have been in had the action not been taken.

Resources:

Click Here to Visit the Civil Service Rules

Click here to review the CSB-300-01 Discipline Appeal Process and Opportunity to Appeal procedure.

For Appointing Authorities:

CS Form-5 | Hillsborough County Classified Employee Notice of Discipline and Opportunity to Appeal

For Employees:

CS Form 5A | Discipline Appeal Request

CS Form 15 | Consent to Electronic Service & Notice of Electronic Service Address

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