(a) An employee receiving an annual PAR rating below the Commendable level shall be denied an anniversary date increment.
1. An appointing authority may request an anniversary date increment for an employee who was denied an increment because of receiving an Unsatisfactory rating but whose performance has subsequently improved. If approved by the Department of Personnel, such increment shall not be effective until a pay period beginning at least 90 days after the employee's anniversary date.
2. An employee who receives an annual rating below the Commendable level should be referred by the appointing authority to the Employee Advisory Service. See N.J.A.C. 4A:6-4.10.
(b) Employees who are not represented by a collective negotiations unit may appeal performance standards or a final PAR rating of Unsatisfactory or Commendable through noncontractual grievance procedures. See N.J.A.C. 4A:2-3.1. In addition to the grievance procedure requirements, all appeals shall be accompanied by a copy of the PAR evaluation.
(c) Employees who are represented by a collective negotiations unit may appeal performance standards or a final PAR rating of Unsatisfactory or Commendable as a noncontractual grievance in accordance with the following procedures:
1. Step One grievance procedures shall be conducted as set forth in N.J.A.C. 4A:2-3.4.
2. A grievant may appeal a Step One grievance decision to the PAR Joint Union Management Panel within 10 calendar days of receipt of the written decision at Step One, or a lack of timely response by the appointing authority. The appeal shall be accompanied by material presented at Step One and any written records or decisions from Step One.
i. The Joint Union Management Panel shall consist of one individual selected by the appointing authority, one individual selected by the affected negotiations representative and one neutral individual jointly selected by the appointing authority and the affected negotiations representative.
ii. The panel shall meet, provided there are at least four Second Step appeals to be heard. The panel shall meet one additional day each month for every four additional appeals to be heard. When in any month there is no meeting because there are fewer than four appeals to be heard, there shall be a meeting the following month, so long as there are any cases to be heard.
iii. The appointing authority and union panel members shall discuss each appeal on the agenda and, with the assistance of the neutral panel member, attempt to jointly resolve the appeal.
iv. If the appointing authority and union cannot come to a joint resolution, the appeal shall be heard by the full panel. At any Second Step appeal hearing, the employee may be represented by a union steward, local union officer and/or local union staff representative.
v. The parties may call witnesses and present evidence at the Second Step appeal hearing. However, each hearing shall conclude within approximately four hours. The neutral panel member shall control the admission of testimony and evidence to ensure adherence to this time frame.
vi. The panel shall issue a written decision within 10 days of the hearing. Each panel member shall have one vote.
3. Appeals from decisions of the Joint Union Management Panel may be made to the Department of Personnel in accordance with N.J.A.C. 4A:2-3.7(b).
(d) An employee may appeal the final departmental decision to the Merit System Board within 20 days of receipt of the decision.
1. The appeal shall be in writing and include a copy of the written departmental decision and the basis for the appeal.
2. The employee shall have the burden of proof to establish that the actions of the supervisor in assigning the rating were arbitrary, unreasonable or induced by improper motives.
3. The Board shall render a final administrative decision upon the written record or such other proceeding as it deems appropriate. See N.J.A.C. 4A:2-1.1.
(e) A rating of Unsatisfactory shall constitute evidence of incompetency, inefficiency or failure to perform duties. In a disciplinary action, an employee may challenge the basis of any rating that is an issue in the proceeding.
(f) Performance ratings may be used as a factor in promotion (See N.J.A.C. 4A:4-2.15) and layoff (N.J.A.C. 4A:8-2.2(c)4).