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WILLIAM C. LAWRENCE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/09/82)

decided: November 9, 1982.

WILLIAM C. LAWRENCE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission in the case of William C. Lawrence v. Department of Labor & Industry, Appeal No. 3172.

COUNSEL

Gary M. Davis, Davis & Abramovitz, for petitioner.

Richard C. Lengler, Assistant Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 629]

In this appeal from the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, appellant William Lawrence, a handicapped employee with the Bureau of Labor and Industry, asserts that in violation of the Civil Service Act (Act) the bureau demoted him without cause.*fn1 We agree.

The facts as found by the commission are not in dispute. In March 1978, the bureau promoted Mr. Lawrence from his position as Rehabilitation Counselor I to Rehabilitation Supervisor. Shortly thereafter,

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 630]

    the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU) filed a grievance on behalf of various female employees, alleging that the bureau's promotion of Mr. Lawrence was sexually discriminatory and therefore in violation of the state's collective bargaining agreement with the union. After protracted negotiations, the bureau and PSSU settled the grievance short of arbitration, the terms of the settlement providing that the bureau (1) return Mr. Lawrence to his former position and (2) reinstitute the promotion process.

In its findings of fact, the commission stated that Mr. Lawrence was qualified for the promotion and had performed his supervisory duties adequately. However, although it found no evidence to justify an involuntary demotion under Section 741.706 of the Act, the commission concluded that the collective bargaining agreement "established" a "promotion process," so that, under 71 P.S. § 741.602, the agreement's terms were controlling over the Act.*fn2 Thus, the commission concluded that the bureau's promotion of Mr. Lawrence violated that agreement. Specifically, from the fact that the union and the state arrived at a pre-arbitration settlement agreement, the commission deduced that "elements of discrimination were present" in the promotion process, thereby justifying the bureau's action, which the commission relabeled as a "retraction" of a promotion. However, the commission's

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 631]

    decision does not identify any "elements of discrimination."

In civil service cases, Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, defines our scope of review. Accordingly, we must decide if the commission violated constitutional rights, committed an error of law or failed to support a necessary finding of fact with substantial evidence. Pennsylvania Department ...


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