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State Civil Service System

States were first required to adopt merit personnel systems as a condition of receiving federal funding for public welfare and the free employment service, as part of the “New Deal” solution to the great economic depression. Indiana's State Civil Service System at IC 4-15-2.2-10 divides the state civil service into the classified service and the unclassified service. IC 4-15-2.2-21 lists which federal programs have a statutory or regulatory requirement for the establishment and maintenance of personnel standards on a merit basis. This section of the law identifies which employees hold positions in the classified service and describes those employees who are excluded from the classified service. All employees not expressly placed into the classified service are in the unclassified service. Other exclusions include the legislative department, judicial department, separately-elected officials, separate bodies corporate and politic (“quasi”), and the state police department.

The main difference between employment in the classified service and in the unclassified service is that employees in the classified service who have successfully completed a working test period can be disciplined only for just cause. Employees in the unclassified service are employed at will and serve at the pleasure of their appointing authorities. They can be dismissed, demoted, disciplined, or transferred for any reason that does not contravene public policy. However, all employees in the state civil service are held accountable for participating in the performance management process.

Links to the State Personnel Department’s standardized policies, as well as the laws and rules described on this page, are provided below.

How to File a Civil Service Complaint

The complaint procedure is enacted at IC 4-15-2.2-42. Employees in the state civil service, except those appointed by the governor, may file a complaint concerning the application of a law, rule, or policy to that employee. The complaint must identify the law, rule, or policy allegedly violated, the facts supporting the allegation, and the remedy the employee is requesting.

Complaints about disciplinary actions vary depending upon whether the employee is part of the classified or unclassified service.

FSSA, DWD, IDOL, IDOH, IDHS, OALP, and DCS are the only executive branch agencies that employ classified employees. However, not every employee hired at these agencies is part of the classified service.

Once a classified employee has successfully completed his/her working test period, s/he can file a complaint concerning his/her dismissal, demotion, or suspension from the classified service. The agency must prove the action was taken for just cause.

An unclassified employee can file a complaint if s/he is dismissed, demoted, disciplined, or transferred in contravention of public policy. The employee must prove that the reason for management’s decision is either: (1) that the employee was exercising a statutory right (such as filing a worker’s compensation claim, whistle-blowing, or filing a civil service complaint); or (2) fulfilling a statutory duty (such as reporting for jury duty).

You may obtain a complaint form from your agency’s human resource office or the State Personnel Department’s Employee Relations Division, or you may download the form below:

Civil service complaints involve a three-step process, and each step must be initiated timely by the employee:

Step I is the employee’s appointing authority or designee.
Civil service complaints must be initiated at the Step I level (to the employee’s appointing authority or his/her designee) not later than thirty (30) calendar days after the act complained of. All complaints must use the official complaint form and identify the remedy sought. An employee who does not initiate the complaint procedure within the 30-day period waives the right to file that complaint. That 30-day period also defines the retroactive extent of any remedy. The Appointing Authority/designee will respond not later than fifteen (15) calendar days following receipt of the complaint.

Step II is the State Personnel Department.
If the employee is not satisfied with the Appointing Authority/designee's decision, s/he may submit the complaint to the State Personnel Director not later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the date of the Appointing Authority/designee's response. The Director/designee will respond not later than thirty (30) calendar days following receipt of the complaint.

Step III is the State Employees’ Appeals Commission (SEAC).
If the employee is not satisfied with the Director/designee's decision, s/he may submit a written appeal to the SEAC not later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the date the employee receives notice of the action of the Director/designee. After receiving the complaint, the SEAC will then determine whether all previous steps were completed properly and timely and whether the employee and subject matter of the complaint meet jurisdictional requirements. If jurisdiction is lacking, or if the employee fails to timely and properly submit his/her complaint through the complaint process, the SEAC will dismiss the complaint.

If you have questions about the complaint procedure, timelines, or standards of review, please contact an Employee Relations Specialist in the State Personnel Department at 1-855-SPD-INHR (1-855-773-4647) and choose the Employee Relations prompt.