Arizona Department of Economic Security v. Redlon – 4/24/2007

April 30, 2007

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two Finds State Employee Who Involuntarily Resigned Is Entitled to Appeal of Termination.

Faced with an ultimatum to resign or be fired, Redlon submitted an involuntary resignation of her job at a state government agency. She was not informed that, by resigning, she would waive her right to an appeal of the charges against her to the Arizona State Personnel Board. She later filed an appeal with the Board, which ordered a hearing on the merits of her claim. The agency, however, filed suit in superior court, seeking a stay of the hearing and review of the Board’s decision to accept jurisdiction. The court stayed the hearing and ruled that the Board lacked jurisdiction because Redlon had not been dismissed but had instead resigned. Redlon appealed.

The Court of Appeals ruled that Redlon was entitled to a hearing because she had resigned under threat of dismissal and had not been informed that tendering a resignation would result in a waiver of her right to file an appeal of the charges against her. Redlon’s failure to timely file appeal was excused for good cause because the agency had declined to inform her of her rights to, or the deadlines for, an appeal. The agency’s claim that it would suffer prejudice from the late filing was not supported by evidence. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded with instructions that the matter be referred back to the Board for a hearing on the merits.