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Appeals - Appeals Information and Procedures

General Information

Chapter 13 of the Civil Service Rules governs appeal procedures. All appeals information and forms, including the Cover Sheet and subpoena request forms, can also be accessed under Documents and Forms. The referees and the Appeals Division Staff are prohibited from giving legal advice.

Appeal has been filed

The Notice of Appeal contains your address and the addresses of the agency and the agency’s attorney and the docket number, and the likely location of the hearing should the appeal proceed to hearing. The Notice also advises who has been assigned your appeal. You are now a party to this appeal.

The parties to an appeal are the employee who files the appeal and the agency that took the action complained of. Occasionally, other people or agencies are made parties to an appeal. These extra parties are indicated on the Notice of Docketing or are added later by letter.

If your address changes, it is important that you notify the Appeals Division immediately and in writing so that you will receive future notices.

Attorney

If you hire an attorney, do not wait until the hearing is scheduled. Hearings, once scheduled, generally will not be continued (postponed) if the attorney has a scheduling conflict. Only an attorney, or a law student who has satisfied the requirements of Rule 20 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, can represent you at a hearing.

Correspondence, Motions, Requests

All correspondence must contain your name, the docket number, and a statement certifying that a copy of the correspondence has been mailed or faxed to the opposing attorney or agency.

Correspondence Statement example:

I hereby certify that on the _______ day of __________ 20__, I provided a copy of this (pleading/letter/request) to (the agency’s attorney or the agency appointing authority).

____________________________
Signature

All pleadings/motions/requests may be filed with the Appeals Division by mail, fax or email. The Appeals Division fax number is (225) 342-8058, and its email address is DSCS.Appeals@la.gov. The Appeals Division’s fax and email are available 24 hours a day. A faxed or emailed pleading is considered filed the date it is received.

Withdrawals, Rescissions, Settlements

Upon written request approved by the Commission or a referee, the employee may withdraw his appeal or the agency may rescind the action that has been appealed. If you decide to withdraw your appeal, please immediately notify the Appeals Division, in writing, so that a hearing will not be scheduled unnecessarily.

With the approval of the Commission or a referee, an appeal may be settled on the terms agreed to by the parties. A settlement must be in writing, signed by the parties or their attorneys, and submitted to the Appeals Division for approval. Do not wait until you receive an agenda setting the appeal for hearing or wait until the day of the hearing to begin discussing settlement.

Burden of Proof

In an appeal of a disciplinary action against a permanent employee, the agency must prove, by a preponderance of evidence, the charges in the letter of discipline and that there was cause for the discipline imposed. In all other appeals, the employee must prove that the action was discriminatory or in violation of the Civil Service Rules or the Article X.

Summary Dispositions

Not all appeals proceed to hearing. When the legal requirements for taking disciplinary action or filing an appeal are not met, the appeal may be summarily decided on the record without a hearing. The grounds for summary disposition are listed in Rule 13.14.

If there are grounds for summary disposition, please advise the Appeals Division as soon as possible. Do not wait until the day of the hearing. If you receive a Request or Motion for Summary Disposition, an Order to Show Cause, or a Notice of Defective Appeal, this does not mean that the case has been decided. You will be given time to respond to the Order or Notice, usually 15 calendar days from the date of the Notice. If you do not respond, your appeal may be summarily dismissed. If an appeal is dismissed or a disciplinary action is reversed, you will receive a written decision.

Prehearing procedures

Once a hearing is scheduled, a continuance (postponement) of the hearing will only be granted for compelling cause or to serve the ends of justice. Obtaining an attorney at the last minute is insufficient cause and a continuance will not be granted. If you are given a continuance and your appeal is ultimately granted, the Commission or the referee may deny you any compensation for that portion of time lost by reason of the continuance. See Rule 13.18.

Agendas

If the appeal proceeds to hearing, an agenda will be mailed to you at least 30 days prior to the hearing date to the address you furnished to the Appeals Division. The agenda will advise you of the time and place of the hearing and whether the Commission or one of its referees is hearing the appeal.

Subpoenas

Any person within the state can be ordered to appear at an appeal hearing to testify and/or to produce documents. You must file a written subpoena request so that the Appeals Division receives it no later than 15 calendar days before the hearing. The subpoena list must identify the witnesses and documents to be produced at the hearing and must explain what facts will be proved by each witness and document requested.

If the witness is a state employee, identify which agency employs him. If a witness is not a state employee, you must provide the address, including the zip code, of the witness.

If you lose your appeal, you may be held responsible for paying witness fees. See La. R.S. 13:3661.

You may arrange for a witness to voluntarily appear at the hearing, but if the volunteer witness does not appear, the hearing will not be held open to take his testimony at a later date.

You may obtain a copy of the subpoena request form and instructions here.

If the subpoena request does not comply with the above instructions or is filed untimely, it will be denied.

Failure to appear at a hearing

If you do not appear (either in person or through counsel) at your hearing, the appeal will be dismissed if you have not received approval from the referee or the Commission for a continuance. Failure to appear because you did not update your address and did not receive notice of the hearing will not prevent dismissal of your appeal, nor will a failure to claim certified mail.

Hearing Procedures

State Civil Service appeal hearings are conducted like trials in civil court. The appeal hearing procedure, governed by Chapter 13 of the Civil Service Rules, can be found here. Ignorance of the rules does not excuse noncompliance.

If you are not represented by an attorney, the referee or the Commission will give you general instructions about how the hearing will proceed, but neither the referee nor the Commission can give you legal advice.

The referee or the Chairman of the Commission will open the hearing. All hearings are recorded. At that time, the party who has the burden of proof usually goes first. Witnesses are called and documents are submitted. Each party is allowed to question all witnesses. A party has the right to respectfully object to testimony or documentary evidence. If you make an objection, state the reason for the objection. The Chairman of the Commission or the Referee will rule on your objection and whether the witnesses’ testimony or the documents will be admitted into evidence.

You may present your legal arguments to the referee or the Commission, but arguing with a witness or opposing counsel is prohibited. Disrespectful behavior may result in a contempt of court finding.

Decisions

After the hearing is completed or after the deadline for submitting argument on legal issues has passed, the parties will be mailed a written decision in the case. Most decisions are rendered within 60 days of the day the case is submitted for decision. Do not call the Appeals Division inquiring about the status of your decision unless it has been more than 60 days since the case was submitted for decision.