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Appeals - Frequently Asked Questions

What follows is general information and an overview of the appeal process. It is not intended as legal advice or a substitute for reading the Civil Service Rules or consulting an attorney.

  1. What is an appeal?
  2. An appeal is a written document asking the State Civil Service Commission to decide an employment dispute involving a state classified employee.

  3. Where does the State Civil Service Commission get its authority to hear appeals?
  4. Article X, Section 8 and Section 12 of the state constitution authorize the Commission to hear and decide certain types of cases involving state classified employees. If the case involves a removal of or disciplinary action against a permanent state classified employee, the Commission’s jurisdiction is exclusive, meaning that the state district courts do not have jurisdiction over such cases.

  5. Who may appeal and what actions are appealable?
  6. Civil Service Rule 13.10 provides:

    13.10 Appeals to the Commission.

    Only the following persons have a right of appeal to the Commission:

    (a) a state classified employee with permanent status who has been removed or subjected to one of the disciplinary actions listed in Rule 12.2(b).

    (b) a state classified employee who has been discriminated against in any employment action or decision because of his political or religious beliefs, sex or race.

    (c) a state classified employee who has been adversely affected by a violation of any provision in Article X or of any Civil Service Rule other than a rule in Chapter 10.

  7. If my complaint is something other than a disciplinary action, how can I tell if it is appealable?
  8. It depends upon why you are challenging the action. For example, if you are challenging a promotion because the selection was based on political or religious beliefs, sex or race, you would have a right of appeal to the Commission based on a claim of discrimination. On the other hand, if you are challenging the promotion because you believe you were discriminated against based on some other factor, or you believe you are better qualified than the person selected, you would not have a right of appeal to the Commission. Your recourse would be to a file a grievance with your agency and/or a suit in district court. Filing your complaint elsewhere does not extend the delays for appealing to the Commission.

  9. What must an appeal contain?
  10. An appeal must be in writing and be signed by you or your attorney (if you have one). It must contain the following information:

    (a) your (and your attorney’s) name and mailing address. You should also provide daytime telephone and fax numbers;

    (b) the action you are challenging;

    (c) the date you received written notice of that action or the date you learned that the action occurred;

    (d) why you are challenging the action;

    (e) the relief you want.

    NOTE: There are special requirements for pleading discrimination and rule violations. See below.

  11. What must an appeal based on discrimination include?
  12. You must allege, in detail, facts (not just conclusions) that, if proved, would lead the Commission to conclude that the employment action or decision was because of your political or religious beliefs, sex, or race rather than a job-related reason. Civil Service Rule 13.11(d) sets out the types of facts (dates, times, places, names) that must be alleged.

  13. What must an appeal based on a rule violation include?
  14. You must allege, in detail, facts that, if proved, would lead the Commission to conclude that a provision of the Civil Service Article or a Civil Service Rule was violated.

  15. Is there a required format for an appeal?
  16. No; however, you can download and use a Appeals Cover Sheet .

  17. How long do I have to file an appeal?
  18. If you are appealing an action for which written notice is required (such as a disciplinary action), you have 30 calendar days (holidays, Saturdays and Sundays included) following the date you received your written notice to file an appeal.

    If you are appealing an action for which written notice is not required (or for which written notice is required, but notice was not given or was given late), you have 30 calendar days following the date you learned of the action you are challenging. But even if your awareness of an action was delayed, under no circumstances can you appeal an action more than 365 days after it occurred.

  19. How do I file an appeal?
  20. Email, fax, hand deliver, or mail your appeal to the Appeals Division of State Civil Service.

    Email DSCS.Appeals@la.gov
    Fax (225) 342-8058
    Hand Deliver Department of State Civil Service, Claiborne Building
    1201 North Third Street, Suite 3-240
    Baton Rouge,LA 70802
    Mail Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9111

    An appeal is timely if it is actually received by State Civil Service in Baton Rouge on or before the deadline or bears a legible United States Postal Service (USPS) postmark showing it was mailed on or before the deadline.

    NOTE: Do not file your appeal at a testing center.

  21. How can I prove I mailed the appeal timely?
  22. Proof of mailing can only be shown by a legible USPS (not private postage meter) postmark. The best way to prove timely mailing is to buy a certificate of mailing from the USPS when you mail the appeal.

  23. Does filing a grievance with my agency extend the time for appealing to the Commission?
  24. No. Filing a grievance does not stop or interrupt the running of the 30-day delay period for filing an appeal. The grievance process is for employment disputes that are not appealable to the Commission. It is an either/or situation. Either the action is appealable, in which case you must file with the Commission; or the action is not appealable, in which case you must file with your agency, using its grievance procedure.

  25. Is there a fee for filing an appeal to the Commission?
  26. No. There is no filing fee, but you may be required to pay certain costs, such as copy costs, witness fees and transcription costs.

  27. How many copies of my appeal do I need to file?
  28. Just the original.

  29. Who will hear my appeal?
  30. The Commission or one of its referees.

  31. Where will my hearing be held?
  32. Referees currently hold hearings in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, Ruston, Monroe, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Lafayette. The Commission usually meets in Baton Rouge, although it occasionally conducts hearings elsewhere.

  33. When will my appeal be heard?
  34. Within each geographical area, appeals are generally heard in the order filed, except that preference is given to appeals involving employees separated from state service. Generally, a hearing is scheduled within two to three months.

  35. Must I have an attorney?
  36. No. You may be represented by an attorney, but you do not have to have one. If you choose to be represented by an attorney, you are responsible for paying his or her fees. You may qualify for free legal help. Refer to the following websites for more information.

    LA Law Help
    LA State Bar Association

  37. If I win my appeal, can I be awarded attorney’s fees?
  38. You may be awarded up to $1500 in attorney’s fees if: 1) you are represented by an attorney; 2) attorney’s fees are requested before the case is concluded; 3) you are successful in your appeal and 4) if the Commission or a referee finds that your agency acted unreasonably.

  39. Will State Civil Service provide me an attorney?
  40. No. State Civil Service does not provide attorneys for either the employee or the agency. However, depending upon your income, you may be eligible for an attorney from a Legal Services Office.

  41. How long does it take to receive a decision?
  42. The goal of the Appeals Division is to provide a written decision within 60 days of the hearing. However, certain cases take longer, especially complicated ones.

  43. How are decisions published?
  44. The Appeals Division mails a hard copy of the decision to the parties on the day the decision is issued. Decisions are put on the Civil Service web site shortly after they are issued.

  45. What if there are errors in the decision?
  46. Typographical errors in the decision can be corrected. Substantive matters can only be changed by the Commission or the Court of Appeal.

  47. What happens in the Application for Review process?
  48. The Commission reviews the application, the exhibits, and the decision. If the Commission believes the referee made an error of fact, it will order a transcript of the hearing. If the Commission concludes the referee made an error of law, it will reverse the decision. If the Commission concludes that more evidence is needed, it will remand the case to the Rrferee. If the Commission concludes that no error was made, it will deny the application.

  49. Is there a time limit for filing an Application for Review of a referee’s decision?
  50. Yes, it must be postmarked or received in the Appeals Division within 15 calendar days after the decision is issued.

  51. Is there a cost for filing an Application for Review of a referee’s decision?
  52. No.

  53. What needs to be in an Application for Review of a referee’s decision?
  54. The application must contain the name and docket number of the case, specify what factual findings and/or what conclusions of law are believed to be wrong, and specify which pleadings and exhibits offered into evidence are to be submitted to the Commission with the application for review. A transcript of the proceedings before the referee may not be specified as a pleading or exhibit under this rule.

  55. Do the parties appear before the Commission during the Application for Review process?
  56. No. The State Civil Service Commission reviews the record.

  57. How long does the Application for Review process take?
  58. The State Civil Service Commission usually issues a decision within two months.

  59. What happens if the referee’s decision is not challenged within 15 days?
  60. The referee’s decision becomes the Commission’s decision as of the date the referee’s decision was rendered. Once a referee's decision becomes the Commission’s decision it is subject to review by the Court of Appeal.

  61. Is there a time limit for filing an Application for Appeal to the Court of Appeal?
  62. Yes, it must be postmarked or received in the Appeals Division within 30 calendar days after the Commission’s decision is issued (including a decision on Application for Review) or within 30 days after a referee’s decision is issued if no one files an Application for Review of the referee’s decision.

  63. Is there a cost for filing an Application for Appeal to the Court of Appeal?
  64. Yes. There is currently a $122 filing fee (per docket number) and a transcription cost of $4 per page.

  65. If I win at the Court of Appeal, will I be reimbursed costs?
  66. The Court of Appeal usually orders the losing party to pay costs.

  67. What happens in the Court of Appeal process?
  68. The Court of Appeal, First Circuit reviews the record (including the transcript if requested) to determine if the decision is in error. The appellate procedure is established by state law and is also governed by the Uniform Rules of the Courts of Appeal and the First Circuit’s rules. The First Circuit’s web site is http://www.la-fcca.org.

  69. Do the parties appear during the Court of Appeal process?
  70. No. The Court of Appeal reviews the record.

  71. May I call witnesses in connection with an Application for Review or an Application for Appeal?
  72. No. The Commission and the Court of Appeal review what happened at the trial. If more evidence is needed, the Commission or the Court of Appeals will remand the case.

  73. May I call the Appeals Division for legal advice about my case?
  74. No. The staff of the Appeals Division is prohibited from giving legal advice.

(Revised 10/29/12)