Appealed from the State Civil Service Commission, State of
Louisiana, Case No. S- 18434 Honorable David Duplantier,
Chairman; D. Scott Hughes, Vice -Chairman; John McLure, G.
Lee Griffin, C. " Pete" Fremin, Ronald M. Carrere,
Jr., and Jo Ann Nixon, Presiding Commissioners of the State
Civil Service Commission, Byron P. Decoteau, Jr., Director,
Department of State Civil Service
Allison A. Jones Shreveport, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellant Matthew Ragona
W. Williams, Jr. Melissa S. Losch Alejandro R. Perkins Baton
Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Louisiana
Adrienne Bordelon Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee Byron P. Decoteau, Jr., Director,
Department of State Civil Service
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO AND LANIER, JJ.
plaintiff/appellant, Matthew Ragona, appeals the decision of
the Civil Service Commission of the State of Louisiana (the
Commission), which denied his application for review of the
referee's decision to terminate his employment with the
Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
30, 2018, Mr. Ragona received notice from the LWC that he had
been terminated from his position as a Workforce Development
Specialist 2. The LWC stated in the notice that his position
was a "job appointment, " which is a temporary,
non-permanent position that could be terminated at any time.
Mr. Ragona was further notified that his final day of
employment would be May 31, 2018.
14, 2018, Mr. Ragona sent a letter to the Commission, in
which he stated he was employed by the LWC from December 8,
2014 to May 31, 2018 as a Workforce Development Specialist 2.
He claimed to have been "laid off due to false
allegations of sexual harassment. He also claimed that he had
a physical disability and that he was treated differently
from other non-disabled employees. Mr. Ragona filed his
appeal to the Commission on June 20, 2018.
August 7, 2018, the Commission mailed a notice of possible
defects in the appeal to Mr. Ragona, which stated that under
Louisiana Civil Service Rule 23.5, an appointing authority
may terminate a "job appointment" at any time
without legal cause. The Commission advised Mr. Ragona that he
had the right to appeal if he alleged that he had been
adversely affected by a violation of the Civil Service Rules
or had been discriminated against because of his religious or
political beliefs, sex, or race, but not due to physical
disability. The Commission advised that it does not have
jurisdiction to hear cases dealing with discrimination based
on a physical disability. The Commission also stated that Mr.
Ragona's appeal did not make any specific factual
allegations of discrimination as required by Louisiana Civil
Service Rules 13.10 and 13.11. The Commission gave Mr. Ragona
fifteen calendar days to adequately amend his appeal to
prevent it from being dismissed.
August 20, 2018, Mr. Ragona, through his retained counsel,
sent an amended letter of appeal to the Commission, in which
he expanded on his previous appeal by including additional
allegations. He stated that false allegations of sexual
harassment were brought against him by a female co-worker,
Heather Daigrepont, who he claimed befriended him and led him
to believe she was romantically interested in him. Mr. Ragona
stated that Ms. Daigrepont "asked [him] out to lunch
several times, repeatedly asked him to go out, paid for his
food every time they went out to eat, asked him to dance,
talked about her personal life with him, etc."
Ragona stated that his physical disability is cerebral palsy,
and that because of his disability he did not have much
experience with romantic relationships. He stated that he
believed Ms. Daigrepont was genuinely interested in him. Ms.
Daigrepont was in a higher position of authority, so he
wanted to build upon his relationship with her. He in turn
asked Ms. Daigrepont out to lunch several times.
Ragona stated he was surprised when Ms. Daigrepont filed
sexual harassment charges against him. He stated that Ms.
Daigrepont never indicated to him that his actions were
unwelcomed by her. Mr. Ragona further claimed that no
investigation was conducted regarding the allegations, and
that he was never questioned about any incident. Mr. Ragona
claimed that he was treated differently from his non-disabled
female co-workers. Mr. Ragona advised that he had also filed