Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a time limit to file an appeal, and when does this timeframe start?
Appeals must be postmarked or received at the State Civil Service Commission offices 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.
2. 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. All decisions made at the Commission Meeting are mailed within one week of the Commission Meeting. The Commission Meeting schedule is on the Civil Service website.
3. 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.
4. Are the 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 that 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 the final decision.
5. 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. The appointing authority will be represented by an attorney. Attorney fees are not covered by the Civil Service Commission.
6. 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 that 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.
7. Will the Commission continue my hearing to another date?
Requests for continuance are granted only in extraordinary circumstances. If a request for continuance is deemed necessary, it should be filed as soon as practical upon knowing that a continuance is needed.
8. How does the subpoena work?
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:
9. How can documents be submitted to the Commission?
Documents may be submitted via fax, e-mail, certified mail or regular mail. If sent via fax or e-mail, the original must then be submitted to the Commission via regular mail. Fax No. 717-772-5120. Email. Mailing Address: State Civil Service Commission, Attn: Appeals Division, P O Box 569, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0569. Physical Address: State Civil Service Commission, Attn: Appeals Division, 320 Market Street - 4th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101.
10. Once my hearing is over, how long does it take for the Commission to issue its decision?
When the record is closed, the Commission has ninety (90) calendar days to review the full record and issue a decision, which is called an adjudication.
11. What is the time limit to file a Request for Reconsideration of a Commission decision?
A Request for Reconsideration of any decision made by the Commission must be submitted to the Commission within fifteen (15) calendar days of the mailing date of the Commission's decision.
12. How is a Request for Reconsideration filed?
Any 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 about a Request for Reconsideration.
13. Are copies of the hearing transcript available?
Anyone may make arrangements to come to any Commission 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 that prepared it: (The Sargent's Group, 210 Main Street, Johnstown, PA 15901; Phone No. 800-727-4349 ext. 137).
14. 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.
15. Can an 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.