civil service seniority

As a civil service bookkeeper, I know that I have seniority over a provisional bookkeeper. Our supervisor insist that the provisional has more seniority to protect her from being transferred over me. How can I prove my point? Isn't this favoritism a form of discrimination?
Our supervisor now plans on promoting the provisional bookkeeper to a provisional accountant. Does this move protect her more because her title will now be over me? I am the only American women in the office but I am not comfortable using race as an issue. What is your advice?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 7, 2007 7:42 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Seniority of a Provisional

For advice, you need to set up a consultation. On this website, we use your questions as springboards to discuss general issues.

Maybe you have a discrimination situation, but civil servants should be very careful about raising the discrimination, or retaliation, or harassment flag too quickly. There is nothing wrong with these claims, but remember only certain forms of discrimination, retaliation and harassment are illegal. Even if we can assume that a civil servant really has a discrimination, retaliation or harassment claim, a civil servant may have other easier ways of dealing with their problems than a claim for discrimination, retaliation or harassment. These claims are difficult to prove.

Now, a provisional can have more seniority than a permanent appointment. But that is really of little help to a provisional. Provisional positions are temporary positions. Management often abusively use provisional positions to get around civil service requirements. But there are ways of stopping that.

A person can hold a provisional position for only a limited amount of time, I believe for a maximum of 18 months. The purpose of a provisional position is to fill a critical position until the next test. The provisional appointee is not supposed to get any kind of preference over other candidates in filling the permanent position. Under the Civil Service Law, you are not suppose to have permanent provisional positions, but I do know of people who started as provisional and remained provisionals until getting enough time in to get a civil service pension.

Unions are usually reluctant to deal with provisional appointments, because the provisionals become union members just like permanent appointments. However, it isn't uncommon for management to use provisional positions to frustrate the career goals of permanent employees. So, what can be done.

In New York, any citizen can challenge in court a violation of the civil service laws. So, for example, if you see a provisional continuing in a position beyond the period permitted, you can go to court to get an order requiring the agency to fill the provisional position on a permanent basis, through the open, preferably competitive, processes required by the Civil Service Law

posted by David M. Lira  |  Mar 8, 2007 07:34 AM [EST]

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