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Laid-off State Employee? You’ve Got Some Work to Do

Filed under: State Politics

If you were one of the thousands of state employees who recently lost his or her job, don’t fool yourself that you’re in for a clean break. In fact, you might have received a communication very similar to this one:


TO: Employees Impacted by the Reduction in Force

FROM: John Murray, Deputy Medicaid Inspector General, Administration

SUBJECT: Information Packages

DATE: September 28, 2011

Due to serious fiscal problems now facing New York State and your union’s failure to ratify a negotiated contract with provisions designed to avoid layoffs, it is necessary to implement a reduction in force within the Department of Health. The result is that a number of filled positions will be abolished. We must administer a Reduction in Force as provided for in the Civil Service Law, § 80 and 80a, in order to meet statutory requirements of the layoff process. This provides an orderly system for protecting employees based upon employment status and seniority.

Layoff rights are primarily determined by employee status (permanent, contingent permanent, probationary, temporary, provisional, etc.), seniority, and jurisdictional classification (competitive class, non-competitive class, etc.) within a layoff unit. The Department of Health is one single layoff unit, with the exception that any county that contains a Health Department health care facility is a separate layoff unit. Generally, more senior permanent employees have greater retention rights over less senior employees within a title. Employees who are on probation have lesser retention rights than those who have completed probation in a title. Non-permanent employees have no rights to their position, but may have options such as returning to a hold item. Each employee’s retention rights are governed by their own unique Civil Service History.

We are sending you the attached materials because your current position is likely to be affected by this reduction in force.

This packet includes the following materials:

·         The booklet Information for State Employees Affected by Layoff
·         A DOH/OMIG Reassignment Locations Form
·         A DOH/OMIG Displacement Locations Form
·         A NYSHIP booklet on Benefits Information for Employees Affected by Layoff
·         The booklet Unemployment Insurance Information for Claimants
·         A Guide for Preparing a Resume from the NYS Department of Civil Service, Career Mobility Office website

Many more senior permanent employees within a title may have horizontal displacements rights. More senior employees may be offered positions in their same title and grade at other locations within the layoff unit. Permanent employees who refuse this type of assignment are not entitled to lower level “bump” or retreat rights and are consequently separated from service. If the reassignment would have required accepting a position in another county, the Department of Civil Service will place the names of such employees on appropriate reemployment lists following layoff (but not for the county to which the employee refused reassignment).

Less senior permanent employees may have vertical displacement rights, more commonly referred to as “bumping” or “retreating.” “Bumping” can only occur in the competitive class, and refers to a form of vertical displacement which allows an employee with greater retention rights to displace an employee with fewer retention rights who serves in a lower-grade title in a direct line of promotion. If a permanent competitive class employee facing layoff is in a position that has no opportunity to bump (that is, there are no occupied positions in a lower graded title in the direct promotion line), the employee may be able to “retreat” and displace an employee in a title that the laid off employee last served in on a permanent basis, provided the title is at a lower salary grade. “Retreat” rights also apply to many employees serving in the non-competitive and labor classes. The Department of Civil Service will place the names of permanent employees who refuse this type of vertical displacement and who are consequently separated from service on appropriate reemployment lists following layoff.

In order to determine employee rights in a reduction in force, employees must inform the Bureau of Personnel Management of their choices in the event they are eligible for horizontal reassignment or vertical displacement. Making these choices can be difficult, but are absolutely critical to the process of determining who is horizontally reassigned, who may be vertically displaced, and who may be laid off within a title within a layoff unit.

Please first read the booklet, Information for State Employees Affected by Layoff, which contains important information with which you should become familiar.

Then complete the Reassignment Locations Form.  This indicates locations in which the DOH/OMIG has offices to which you could be offered reassignment in your current title and salary grade.  It is extremely critical that you indicate only those locations to which you would absolutely be willing to relocate.  If this form is completed erroneously, decisions could be made which would result in you or someone else being reassigned to an undesired location or being laid off improperly.

The Displacement Locations Form should be used to select locations to which you could be displaced to a different title and lower salary grade from that in which you are currently serving.  Again, it is extremely
critical that you indicate only those locations to which you would absolutely be willing to relocate even if the position was a lower salary grade.

The two relocation forms must be returned to the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, Bureau of Human Resources Management, 2nd Floor, 800 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12204, as soon as possible but not later than October 3, 2011 close of business.  Failure to respond by October 3, 2011 close of business will constitute a declination of any horizontal reassignment or vertical displacement rights that may be available to you. Information contained in these forms will be used to make final determinations as to who will be affected by the reduction in force.  These forms may be scanned and returned to or may be faxed to
(518) 408-5005.

If you have any questions, you may call the Bureau of Human Resources Management at (518) 408-5023. Questions may also be addressed to us via e-mail at

Attached to the email are no less than 11 documents to read and forms to fill out, including a 32-page booklet that might as well be titled “So You’re Losing Your Job…” and a phone script for filing unemployment claims.

  • Jim

    Welcome to the real world.