Hearings and Appeals FAQs
1. How do I contact the State Civil Service Commission about a hearing or appeal?
In response to Governor Wolf's Emergency Declaration and efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Commission staff continues to telework. Inquiries related to the civil service appeal process or a specific appeal can be emailed to the Commission's Legal Services Office at ra-cs-legalsvcsQandA@pa.gov. At this time, it is recommended inquiries be sent by email. However, if you choose to call, please contact 717-783-2924.
2. I would like to file a new appeal. Can I still do that while COVID-19 restrictions are in place?
Yes. In response to Governor Wolf's Emergency Declaration and efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Commission staff continues to telework. As always, any regular or probationary employee in the classified service, or job seeker, may appeal an employment action.
3. Will the Commission continue to hold appeal hearings and pre-hearing conferences while COVID-19 restrictions are in place?
Yes. Civil Service appeal hearings and pre-hearing conferences will be conducted primarily online via Skype.
4. Is there a time limit to file an appeal, and when does this time limit start?
Appeals must be postmarked or received at the State Civil Service Commission office within twenty (20) calendar days of the date the employee receives notice of the personnel action or becomes aware that discrimination has occurred. The twenty days starts on the day the employee receives notice of the personnel action: the notice may be written (letter) or verbal.
5. When will my appeal form be reviewed, and when will I be notified if I am granted a hearing?
The Commission meets once a month to review all new appeals. Commission decisions on new appeals are communicated via an order or hearing notice that is mailed to the parties after the meeting is concluded. The Commission Meeting schedule is available online.
6. Why wasn't a probationary employee granted his/her request for an appeal hearing?
A probationary status employee does not have the same right of appeal as a regular status employee. To be granted an appeal hearing, a probationary status employee must allege that the personnel action was motivated by discrimination. It is not sufficient just to claim you are a victim of discrimination. The probationary status employee must allege specific facts which would support a conclusion that discrimination did occur. These specific facts should include: 1) the acts complained of; 2) how those acts differ from the way the appointing authority dealt with others similarly situated; 3) when the acts occurred; and, 4) when and how appellant first became aware of the alleged discrimination. If the probationary status employee fails to allege specific facts that support the discrimination claim, then the request for an appeal hearing will be denied by the Commission due to an insufficient allegation of discrimination.
7. Are hearings presided over by a judge?
No. One or more of the Commissioners or a Hearing Officer will preside over the hearing. (The law does not require a Commissioner be present at the hearing). However, the record of your hearing (transcript, exhibits, and briefs) will be reviewed by each Commissioner before voting on a decision.
8. Must an appellant be represented by an attorney?
Appellants are NOT required to hire an attorney but may do so. Appellants may represent themselves, but they cannot be represented by a non-legal person, such as a friend or spouse. Appellants are responsible for securing their own attorney. Attorney fees are not covered by the Commission.
9. Does the Commission provide interpreters for appellants who have limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing?
Yes, the Court and Administrative Proceeding Interpreter Certification Law (Act 172) requires the presiding officer at a hearing before the State Civil Service Commission appoint an interpreter upon request or on his/her own motion for persons with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing. The cost of providing the interpreter will be paid by the State Civil Service Commission. For more information, click here.
10. Will the Commission continue my hearing to another date?
A continuance request will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances. The request must specify facts supporting the request, state the opposing party's position on the request, and include at least 3 dates for rescheduling the hearing. A request for continuance should be submitted as soon as possible.
11. How do I request a subpoena?
There are two types of subpoena requests (witness subpoena and document subpoena). For detailed information on how to file a request for a subpoena, please click here.
12. Can a final decision of the Commission be appealed?
Yes. It can be submitted to the Commission for reconsideration within fifteen (15) calendar days of the mailing date of the Commission's decision. It can also be appealed to the Commonwealth Court within thirty (30) calendar days of the mailing date of the Commission's decision.
13. How is a Request for Reconsideration filed?
A Request for Reconsideration must be in writing and must state precisely what is objected to in the Commission's decision. Consult Section 105.17 of the Rules of the Civil Service Commission for more information.
14. Are copies of the hearing transcript available?
Anyone may make arrangements with the Legal Services Office to visit the Commission's Harrisburg office to look at a transcript. However, the Commission cannot provide you with your own personal copy; you must review it at our office. A transcript may be purchased from the court reporting service (The Sargent's Group, 210 Main Street, Johnstown, PA 15901: (800) 727-4349 ext. 137).
15. Can the appellant be reimbursed for court costs and attorney fees?
No. The Award of Fees and Expenses for Administrative Agency Actions (Cost Act), 71 P.S. 2031 et seq., expired on July 1, 2007 and has not been reenacted or amended. The Commonwealth Court has held that there is no other statutory authority authorizing the Commission to award fees. Therefore, no award of attorney fees can be provided.