Our employment attorneys represent employees in New Jersey Civil Service appeals and disciplinary proceedings. One frequent matter of contention in the New Jersey Civil Service System is bypassing candidates for selection or promotion under the “Rule of Three.”
The Rule of Three
The New Jersey Civil Service Act requires that hiring and promotion must be based on fitness and merit, determined by competitive Civil Service examinations wherever possible. After a test, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission will issue a list of eligible candidates ranked in order of their scores. Hiring and promotion must be made according to the eligible candidates’ ranks on the list. However, an exception exists. The Rule of Three allows New Jersey Civil Service employers to bypass eligible candidates ranked higher on hiring and promotion lists in favor of lower ranked candidates so long as they select one of the top three eligible candidates remaining on the list. After each decision to hire or promote, the Rule of Three evaluation begins all over again. So, for example, if the first candidate is selected, the employer may then select any of the candidates ranked second through fourth for the second spot.