Los Angeles Civil Service Labor Law Firm

California labor attorney represents government employees

Working for a government body comes with numerous challenges, but also certain protections that you should understand if you are a  civil service employee who has recently been discharged or in the process of discharge.  Generally, civil service covered employees have the right to be represented when they are being questioned about potential misconduct but management does not have to advise such an employee, the employee must request representation.  Also, before a discharge occurs, a civil service covered employee must be given a notice of intent to discharge and an opportunity to meet with a management representative to explain his response to allegations of misconduct before the government agency may discharge the employee and this applies to both union and non-union covered employees.   Civil servants are  afforded  many rights not available to private sector employees and if facing a discharge, also known as a dismissal, termination or separation, you should call for assistance.  

What constitutes civil service?

Non-military employees who work for a government body are considered civil servants. Many of these jobs are given based on the results of a competitive test, and promotions might also be based on merit described in merit rules or civil service rules. When run properly, this system not only makes things fairer for workers, but also assures the public that taxpayer-funded employees are being hired based on how well they can do the job rather than who they know. My firm aids county and city employees, state and federal employees, school district and special district employees  who fall under civil service protections. 

Protecting the rights of public employees in civil service cases

Dealing with government bureaucracy can seem very difficult, and if you have been fired, demoted or suspended from your civil service job, a lot might be riding on the outcome. With decades of of legal experience, I offer knowledgeable, compassionate support that city, county, state and federal employees deserve. Whether you need to file a civil service appeal, have a question about your benefits, or believe you are being punished for reporting wrongdoing at work, I am ready to give you a detailed explanation of your rights as a public sector worker.  

What rights and benefits do civil service workers have?

In addition to healthcare coverage and other benefits provided by private-sector employers, civil servants have some specific rights and benefits. California’s Constitution and subsequent laws declare that civil service jobs be granted according to the merit principle and that workers who believe that a violation of the relevant standards occurred can seek relief from the State Personnel Board. Following a probationary period, permanent state employment is considered a property right and just cause must be demonstrated before disciplinary measures are imposed. If you are a civil service employee, you have whistleblower protection and the right to speak freely without it affecting your employment status.

How are civil service appeals conducted?

The California Department of Human Resources handles appeals of government workers who believe their treatment violated the state’s civil service rules. Within 30 days of the adverse decision, an appeal must be filed with CalHR’s Statutory Appeals Unit (SAU). At that point, the case can be referred to an administrative law judge for a hearing, where documentary and witness evidence can be introduced. Depending on the circumstances, the SAU might send a notice of a preliminary conference or schedule the hearing directly. My firm represents parties at every stage of this process, diligently advocating for a proper resolution.

What rights and benefits do civil service workers have?

In addition to healthcare coverage and other benefits provided by private-sector employers, civil servants have some specific rights and benefits. California’s Constitution and subsequent laws declare that civil service jobs be granted according to the merit principle and that workers who believe that a violation of the relevant standards occurred can seek relief from the applicable civil service commission, personnel commission, State Personnel Board or federal Merit Systems Protection Board or other applicable office. Following a probationary period, permanent  government employment is considered a property right and just cause must be demonstrated before disciplinary measures are imposed. If you are a civil service employee, you  also have whistleblower protection and the right to speak freely without it affecting your employment status in many situations.

County of Los Angeles civil service representation

I have achieved strong results for clients seeking County of Los Angeles civil service representation. Appeals of discharges, suspensions lasting at least five days, decisions on discrimination complaints and other matters go before the county’s Civil Service Commission. If you’re an L.A. County employee considering an appeal of a determination that went against you, I will review the circumstances and give you honest counsel about your chances of winning a reversal.

How are civil service appeals conducted?

Where the public jurisdiction permits appeals on discharge, serious discipline, demotion, promotion, discrimination claims, the case is normally heard before an administrative hearing officer and reviewed by a personnel or civil service commission.  The administrative hearing is an evidentiary hearing with witnesses, documents, subpoenas, legal evidence rules usually apply, and agencies are represented by county or city attorneys or law firms hired by the public entity to advocate against the employee.  You need a tough advocate that can handle the government lawyers. Civil service hearings usually apply the rules of evidence and formally recorded proceedings that must be presented carefully.  Generally, in a discipline case, the governmental employer has the burden of proof in discipline cases while the employee has the burden of proof when raising discrimination or retaliation defenses. 

Where the public jurisdiction has a labor union collective bargaining agreement, also known as a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU, the MOU may require the matter to be heard only through the union grievance and arbitration procedure. So, an initial question is what is the proper procedure that applies to your case?  This question is answered by reviewing merit system or civil service rules and any union contract that may apply.

Time Limits for Civil Service Appeals

Civil service appeals before the City of Los Angeles must be filed within 5 business days of the discharge or discipline. 

Civil service appeals before the County of Los Angeles must be filed within either 10 or 15 business days depending on the nature of the appeal with 15 business days for discharge or discipline. 

Civil service appeals for certain federal employees may appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board and have 30 days of the action to appeal a discharge or suspension over 14 days, and other matters within its jurisdiction. 

Civil service appeals in before the State of California State Personnel Board must be filed within 15 or 30 business days depending on the nature of the complaint, and there is a 30 day limit for discharge appeals.   

 Each public jurisdiction has different rules for different types of work problems.  Each public jurisdiction may have a different way to divide functions between civil service protections and collective bargained union rights.  For example, for a unionized public employee a discharge, high suspension or medical release case may be handled through a civil service commission while a pay claim for sick leave or vacation, or a reassignment rquest may be handled through a union grievance and arbitration procedure.  For non-union public employee like a manager or supervisor, discharges, demotions and promotions may be handled by a civil service commission while pay claims, leave issues and other matters may be handled under general Human Resource policies through various offices of a public employer.  Each case must be analyzed for proper procedure.  

My firm represents parties at every stage of this process diligently advocating for a proper resolution. 

County of Los Angeles civil service representation

I have achieved strong results for clients seeking County of Los Angeles civil service representation. Appeals of discharges, suspensions over  five days,  demotion or promotions, discrimination claims and other matters that go before the county’s Civil Service Commission is my area of emphasis. Victor Manrique implies no special relationship with the County of Los Angeles.  

I have fought on behalf of employees against County management for decades.  If you are an L.A. County employee considering an appeal of a determination that went against you before the Commission, I will review the circumstances and give you honest counsel about your chances of winning a reversal. 

Contact a knowledgeable California lawyer representing civil service employees

The Law Offices of Victor Manrique in Los Angeles handles civil service workers across Southern California. To make an appointment regarding your issues, please call 213-487-4733 or contact me online

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    3278 Wilshire Boulevard
    Suite 1002
    Los Angeles, California 90010

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    213-487-4733

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Reviews & Ratings

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Victor was very determined in ensuring we were prepared for the appeal with Los Angeles County. He guided me on how to organize my evidence and facilitated the grievance process. Without his knowledge of the grievance process and ability to...
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    — Client

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    5.0/5.0

    This message is from my mother, Holly Robertson, who does not know how to use yelp: "I called for a consultation and he not only spent an hour of his time but was very helpful in his recommendations. Moreover, if I were to need legal he...
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    — Breyonna R.

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Speaking to this attorney was amazing because he was very easy to talk to, and didn"t cut me off when I was talking. He spoke to me for about an hour, and gave me some advice that could help me with my issue. He was very knowledgeable regar...
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    — Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Victor was immediately responsive to my employee claim with LA County. He presented a wide range of possible actions I could take to remedy my situation. I would definitely recommend him to anyone that works in government, especially within...
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    — Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Attorney Manrique was very attentive to my concerns regarding my discharge case with the County of Los Angeles. He explained the process and details of the possible outcomes. He gave good examples of prior cases where he had successfully wo...
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    — Client