Under New Jersey’s Civil Service System, hiring and advancement are required to be based on merit. In a civil service jurisdiction, taking the civil service test is just the first step in the process of obtaining a position as a New Jersey law enforcement officer or firefighter. After this there will be a background investigation, interview, and physical and psychological examinations. Under New Jersey civil service regulations a candidate may be rejected if she “Is physically or psychologically unfit to perform effectively the duties of the title.” (An exception applies when the “an injury incurred in the armed forces… unless the Commissioner [of Civil Service] considers the condition incapacitating.”)
Many times, and for a variety of reasons, perfectly fit candidates fail the psychological examination, which is usually conducted by a mental health professional selected by the agency to which the candidate is applying. However, the regulations and New Jersey’s Civil Service Act (Title 11A of New Jersey Statutes) provides for an appeal to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.
To remove an applicant, the department or agency (known as the “appointing authority” or “employer” in the regulations) must request that the Commission remove an otherwise eligible applicant’s name from an eligible list because of her alleged psychological unfitness which purportedly renders her unable to effectively performing the duties of the title. The request must include “a copy of the certification and a report and recommendation supporting the removal request, prepared and signed by a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist who is licensed in New Jersey or qualified and employed by the appointing authority in the Clinical Psychologist title series.” It must include “a finding that the eligible is not qualified due to medical or psychological reasons for the title.” Finally, it must include “All medical, psychiatric, and psychological examinations performed at the appointing authority’s request shall be at the appointing authority’s expense.” The request may be denied for failure to provide the required documentary support.