Some public employees in civil service positions may challenge their discharge through the civil service system. But doing so does have its dangers.
For example, if there are related discrimination claims they don’t bring up, employees may lose the chance to sue later.
Recent case: Anthony, an employee in Santa Clara, California's water resource department, was disciplined for a series of alleged poor behaviors, including alleged misconduct during a company training session.
He also allegedly had consumed alcohol and “had disrupted the session through loud talking and profanity.” The employer said he also exhibited belligerent behavior by “confront[ing] another attendee in an aggressive manner” and “had to be restrained.” He was ultimately removed from the training session a co-workers.
Anthony asked for a civil service hearing and the commission upheld his discharge. He never mentioned disability discrimination, race discrimination or harassment during the original proceedings.
But later, those claims were central to the lawsuit he filed. Santa Clara then asked the court to toss out the claims, reasoning he should have raised them earlier. The court agreed. (Glover v. City of Santa Clara, No. B257114, Court of Appeal of California 2015)
Final note: Anthony also wanted the court to order the employer to provide a warning to all discharged employees that would explain how and what to appeal. The court, however, refused to burden the employer.