Stephen L. Hayford is an assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, and Richard Pegnetter is an associate professor in the Industrial Relations Institute, the University of Iowa.
While many public employees now have the protection of negotiated contract grievance procedures, significant numbers continue to have grievance rights under nonnegotiated, civil service appeals systems. The nature of public sector negotiated procedures tends to be very similar to contract grievance mechanisms in the private sector. This similarity includes the general finality of an arbitrator's decision as the last phase of the grievance process.
Civil service appeal systems evidence some significant variance from negotiated grievance procedures. The scope of issues that can be appealed is often more narrow and there is less assurance of a readily available employee representative under nonnegotiated appeal systems. In addition, the neutral adjudicator is not mutually selected and the adjudicator's decision itself is more susceptible to review on the merits than under negotiated arbitration provisions. Modest changes in civil service appeal systems could result in greater due process for public employees who are not covered by negotiated grievance procedures.