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New Jersey Civil Service Classification Appeals

In General. The New Jersey Civil Service Act establishes three classes of civil service employees: Career (or “classified”), unclassified and, in State service, the Senior Executive Service.   The New Jersey Civil Service Commission has the job of classifying positions – it is the positions which are classified, not people. tenure-thumb-170x110-48818


Classification.  Each position in the career and unclassified services are then assigned to a job title by the Commission.  It specifies the qualifications, duties and responsibilities for each title.  It does this through a classification plan for all State government positions and similar plans for political subdivisions.  When necessary, the Commission will modify specifications to ensure their accuracy.  It is also responsible for notifying appointing authorities and employees of changes in classification plans which effect them.

Public employees in New Jersey Civil Service  must be appointed under a title which corresponds to the duties which the employee actually performs.  The employer’s authority to assign terms of office or employment is a limited by the terms of the classification plan. Appointing authorities are required to notify the Commission of new positions, organizational changes, or changes to employee responsibilities; they must annually submit updated organizational charts.  In State service, the negotiations representative (ie., the union) must be given notice of changes to the plan, including: reorganizations of titles or title series, or requests for new ones; request for reevaluation of job content; requests for modification of job specifications; and changes to flextime programs, alternate workweek programs and or hours.

The Commission audits positions to ensure accurate classification and that the appointing authority is complying with New Jersey Civil Service Act.


New Titles.  The Commission may create a new title based on what the employee in it is actually doing.  When the Commission finds the need for a new title or title series, it will prepare a new job specification.  In State service it will evaluate the new title to determine appropriate compensation.    Until approved by the Commission, the affected titles are designated as “Tentative Titles.”


Trainee Titles.  Trainee titles may be established in both State and local service for entry level positions.  When an employee in a training title receives regular appointment, she must complete a working test period. Training periods may not exceed 12 months, unless otherwise provided by law, and must be continuous, unless interrupted by leave of layoff. The Commission may extend the training period


Intermittent Titles, Furloughs.  “Intermittent titles” are “those titles in the career service …. where work responsibilities are characterized by unpredictable work schedules and which do not meet the normal criteria for regular, year-round, full-time or part-time assignments.”  Full-time State employees are not eligible to serve in intermittent titles. State employees may be furloughed when, due to managerial needs, they cannot be scheduled for work within the next week.  A furlough is not a layoff, and thus layoff rights do not apply


Reclassification.  A Commission review of a title may be requested by an appointing authority, employee or union representative, or initiated by the Commission.  When, after review, the Commission determines that a position’s duties and responsibilities have changed so that they are no longer similar to those in the title’s specification and thus no longer appropriate, the Commission will: reclassify the position to a more appropriate existing title if one exists; create a new title; or institute another appropriate remedy based on the appointing authority’s structure.                     However, prior to reclassification, the appointing authority shall give notice to affected employees and the Commission approves.    Within 30 days of receipt of the reclassification determination, unless extended by the Commission, the appointing authority must take action implementing the reclassification or reassign the employee to a title with the duties and responsibilities for which the employee has permanent rights.  Reclassification cannot confer tenure on an employee who has not acquired it in her prior title.


Appeal of Classification or Reclassification Determinations.  In State service, a classification appeal may be filed by an employee or union representative.  Appeals are made to the agency representative.

Appeals must be in writing and include:

  • The appeal must identify the specific duties that do not conform to the specification for the title
  • If the appellant proposes a different existing title for the position, an explanation of how that title more accurately describes the duties of the position than the current or proposed title.
  • The appeal must include a completed position classification questionnaire. (If the appellant’s supervisor has not signed the questionnaire within five working days of receipt, the appellant may forward the questionnaire to the agency representative without the supervisor’s signature but with a notation of the date of presentation to the supervisor.)

The agency representative reviews the employee’s or union’s submission to ensure the required information is included and provides an organization chart.  The agency representative must then, within 10 days, either request specific additional information or forward the appeal to the Commission and so notify the appellant.  When forwarding the appeal, the agency representative may recommend approval or rejection with specified reasons.

The Commission reviews the appeal and must issue a written decision within 60 days of receipt, provided no additional information is needed.  It may order a desk audit if warranted.  The decision shall make findings of fact and conclusions, and must give notice of appeal rights to the Commission.  The decision may find that the position is properly classified.  It may also find that while the position is properly classified, the employee filling it is performing out-of-title duties, and the Commission will then order that the employer cease requiring the employee to perform the out-of-title duties.  If it finds the position should be reclassified, it will immediately institute normal reclassification procedures.

In local service an appeal may be filed by an employee, union representative, or appointing authority.  Appeals must be in writing and submitted directly to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission and contain the same information as in State appeals..  Appeals must be submitted in writing within 20 days of receipt of the decision letter.


Contact Us. Our New Jersey employment attorneys represent public and private employees, and private sector employers, in all aspects of New Jersey employment law.  Call us at (973) 890-0004 or fill out the contact form on this page.  We can help.

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