Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Maryland's Highest Court Issues Important Decision for State Employees

The Maryland Court of Appeals today issued an opinion confirming that Administrative Law Judges have the authority to reclassify Maryland State employees. If a Maryland State employee believes his Agency has placed him in an incorrect job classification (i.e., one that does not pay enough), the employee may file a grievance. The last step of the grievance procedure is a hearing before an administrative Law Judge at the Office of Administrative Appeals. In Department of Public Safety and Correction Services v. Myers, while the Agency admitted that an Administrative Judge could award back pay to a wrongly classified employee, it claimed the Judge has no authority to order the Agency to properly classify the employee. The Maryland Court of Appeals rejected the Agency's argument.

According to the Court:

[An ALJ can determine] that a particular employee is executing duties and responsibilities that those agencies have assigned to a different position and that the employee is therefore entitled to be in that position.

The Court affirmed the ALJ's decision to award backpay to several State employees and to upgrade their classifications.

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