Civil Service (M.G.L.c. 31)(Civil Service Commission) (Filing a Civil Service Appeal) (Civil Service Commission Forms) (Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure)
The employment of public employees in Massachusetts is governed by the Massachusetts Civil Service laws. These laws govern primarily the selection of employees for hire, promotion, probation, leave of absence, layoff, suspension, termination and reinstatement.
- Each original and promotional appointment to a civil service position is made after certification from an eligible list established as the result of a competitive examination administered by the Massachusetts Department of Personnel Administration.
- When an appointing authority wishes to make either an original or promotional appointment, it must notify the Department of Personnel Administration and receive the most recent certification of names.
- The names of persons who pass examinations for original service are placed on the eligible lists in the following order: (1) disabled veterans, (2) veterans, (3) widows or widowed mothers of veterans who were killed in action or died from a service connected disability incurred in wartime service, and (4) all others, in each case in the order of their respective standings. (M.G.L.c. 31, s. 26)
- If an appointing authority makes either an original or promotional appointment from a certification of any person other than the person whose names appear highest on the list and that person is willing to accept such appointment, the appointing authority must file with the Department of Personnel Administration a statement of its reasons for appointing the person whose name was not highest. The person so bypassed by the appointing authority may appeal to the Civil Service Commission the adequacy of the reasons given.
- An applicant may appeal a bypass to the Civil Service Commission within 60 days after receiving notice of the bypass.
- The probationary period for permanent full-time employees is normally six months.
- Permanent employees separated from service because of lack of work, lack of money or abolition of position must be separated according to their departmental seniority.
- An employee may appeal a layoff to the Civil Service Commission within 10 business days after receiving notice of the layoff.
- A tenured employee cannot be suspended for a period of more than five days or terminated without just cause and without first receiving from the appointing authority written notice of the action contemplated, the reasons for the action contemplated, a copy of the relevant civil service statutes and a full hearing.
- A civil service employee may be suspended for just cause for a period of five days or less without a hearing prior to such suspension.
- Within 24 hours of imposing such a suspension, the appointing authority must provide the employee with the reasons for the suspension, a copy of the relevant civil service statutes and notice that the employee may within 48 hours file a written request for a hearing before the appointing authority.
- If the appointing authority decides after the hearing that there was just cause for the action taken, the employee may appeal the decision to the Civil Service Commission within 10 days after receiving written notice of the decision. Compensation of a public employee for a period of unlawful separation from public employment does not require the government employer to presume that, based on averages, the employee would have earned a certain amount of extra duty pay or overtime. White v. City of Boston, 57 Mass.App.Ct. 356 (2003). The Civil Service Commission can consider evidence related to a racially hostile or retaliatory work environment when assessing whether a municipality had just cause to terminate a tenured civil service employee. A civil service employee whose unfitness is determined to be caused by racist remarks and retaliation in the workplace and the employer's arbitrary and capricious response to such remarks and retaliation may not be terminated by the employer responsible for causing the unfitness. Town of Brookline v. Alston, et al., 487 Mass. 278 (2021)
- A person who alleges that the appointing authority did not follow civil service requirements may file a complaint with the Civil Service Commission within 10 business days after the challenged action or after the person first knew or had reason to know of the action.
- Permanent employees separated from service because of lack of work, lack of money or abolition of position must be reinstated according to their departmental seniority. Such employees must be reinstated prior to the appointment of any other applicants.