SPBR generally has jurisdiction over the following types of appeals:
- Reduction in Pay or Position
- Job Abolishment
- Non-Disciplinary Reduction
- Involuntary Disability Separation
- Resignation / Forced Resignation
- OSHA / Public Employment Risk Reduction
- Abuse of Power
SPBR hears appeals, pursuant to O.R.C. 124.34, from removals, suspensions, fines and reductions in pay or position for disciplinary reasons. Any classified employee of a state or county agency, state university, or general health district who has been removed, suspended for more than 24-hours (overtime eligible) or more than 40-hours (overtime exempt), fined, or reduced in pay or position for a disciplinary reason has a right to file an appeal with the Board.
A written appeal from a O.R.C. 124.34 Order must be filed with the Board within 10 calendar days after the Order is received by the employee; if there is no O.R.C. 124.34 Order, a written appeal must be filed with SPBR within 30 calendar days after the employee receives actual notice of the action.
At a hearing, the employer must prove allegations of acts and/or omissions, which form the basis of the discipline. After hearing all evidence, the Board will determine whether the evidence supports a finding that the employee has violated one of the statutory grounds for discipline and, if so, whether the amount of discipline imposed was appropriate under the total circumstances. The Board can consider several factors, including the progressive discipline record of the employee, any mitigating circumstances, and any disparity in the treatment received by the employee compared to similarly situated employees.
SPBR has jurisdiction to hear several types of non-disciplinary appeals, including matters related to:
- Displacement and Job Abolishment
- Non-Disciplinary Reduction
- Involuntary Disability Separation and Denial of Reinstatement
- Resignation / Forced Resignation
A classified employee of a state or county agency, state university/college, or general health district may appeal the results of a position audit to the Board. A written appeal of job audit results must be filed with the Board within 30 calendar days after receiving the notice of the results of the audit. A copy of the audit decision letter should be attached to the appeal. The Board will determine the most appropriate classification for the employee’s position.
Layoff, Displacement and Job Abolishment
Employees may be laid off or displaced due to a temporary lack of funds or work within an agency. A position may be abolished when an appointing authority feels there is no longer any need for the position. If the abolished position is occupied, the incumbent employee may be displaced or laid off.
Layoffs, displacements, and abolishments are appealable to SPBR. At a hearing, the employer must show that it complied with the applicable statutory requirements in carrying out the layoff, displacement, or abolishment. A written appeal of a layoff, displacement, or abolishment must be filed or postmarked within 10 calendar days after receipt of the notice of the action. A copy of the notice of layoff, displacement, or abolishment should be attached to the appeal.
SPBR may hear an appeal from alleged reductions in position for reasons other than discipline. Because a classified employee may only be reduced for disciplinary reasons, the Board will order an employer to restore appropriate duties to an employee who has been improperly reduced. A written appeal of an alleged reduction which does not involve a O.R.C. 124.34 Order must be filed with the Board within 90 days after receipt of notice of the reduction or, if no notice is given, within 90 days of the actual imposition of the reduction. The Board has discretion to extend the appeal time.
Involuntary Disability Separation and Denial of Reinstatement
When an appeal from an involuntary disability separation is filed, the Board will determine whether the employer has complied with necessary procedural requirements and whether the evidence establishes that the employee is incapable of performing his or her essential job duties. The employee may dispute the employer's evidence through witness testimony, the employee's own medical or psychological evidence, or both. A written appeal from an involuntary disability separation must be filed with the Board within 10 calendar days after the employee receives a copy of the order of involuntary disability separation.
A written appeal of a denial of reinstatement must be filed with the Board within 30 calendar days after the employee receives a letter of denial. In a reinstatement appeal, the employee must demonstrate, through medical or psychological evidence, that he or she is once again capable of performing his or her essential job duties.
Transfers to another county for more than 30 days or from one appointing authority to another are appealable. There are several statutory requirements which must be met before an employee may be transferred. The Board may review the transfer to make sure that the employer has complied with the requirements. A written appeal of a transfer must be filed with the Board within 10 calendar days after receipt of the notice of transfer. A copy of the notice of transfer should be attached to the appeal.
Other miscellaneous actions may be appealed to SPBR; the Board reviews each case individually to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the alleged violation.
SPBR has jurisdiction to hear appeals from retaliatory actions taken against classified or unclassified employees of state and county agencies, state universities/colleges, general health districts, cities, city health districts, or city school districts, as a result of the employee's proper "whistleblower" report of violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations, or the misuse of public resources under O.R.C. 124.341. When an employee files a whistleblower appeal, the Board will determine whether a causal relationship exists between the employee's activities and the employer's actions. If retaliatory action has been taken, the Board may impose a remedy up to and including reinstatement or any other appropriate order.
OSHA / Public Employment Risk Reduction Appeal
The Board may hear appeals from any employed or contracted individual in any non-federal governmental setting in Ohio who alleges a retaliatory action has been taken against him or her for properly reporting an OSHA violation. When such an appeal is filed, the Board follows a procedure similar in nature to that used in a whistleblower appeal. The appeal right provided by O.R.C. Chapter 4167 does not prevent an individual from filing, in the alternative, a disciplinary action under O.R.C. 124.34, where applicable.
Abuse of Power
A citizen or employee may file a request for an investigation of an alleged abuse of power by a state or county agency, state university/college, or general health district in the appointment, layoff, reduction, suspension, or removal of an employee. If the Board finds that an individual has violated O.R.C. Chapter 124 it may recommend to the Governor of the State of Ohio that the individual be removed.
A citizen or employee may file a request for investigation of allegations that a municipal civil service commission has abused its authority in committing a violation of the civil service laws. Investigation requests must be filed with the Board within six months of knowledge of the alleged violations of O.R.C. Chapter 124. The time period may be extended within the Board's discretion where the violation is ongoing or there is a pattern of violation over an extended period of time.
When a request for investigation is received, SPBR conducts its initial investigation through an exchange of correspondence between the parties, after which the Board will determine the appropriate course of action.