Office of the President

Position Classification Plan; Replaces EM 89-014, EM 77-016, and VPA 78-19

Executive Memorandum 08-068 October 03, 2008

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Position Classification Plan; Replaces EM 77-016, EM 89-014 and VPA 78-19

Cabinet approves the attached documentation for immediate implementation. This policy clarifies the position classification system which ensures salary equity among employees and correct allocation of positions to classes within The California State University classification structure. Where language in the applicable collective bargaining agreement differs from the language of this document, the language in the collective bargaining agreement shall prevail.



Classification systems ensure salary equity among employees and correct allocation of positions to classes within the California State University classification structure. This allocation of positions is based on the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position, not the quality of the performance of the incumbent. Positions are allocated to classes according to the following criteria:

  • The nature and variety of work assigned, including complexity and difficulty
  • The nature of supervisory control exercised over the position
  • The availability and nature of guidelines controlling decisions and actions
  • The nature and scope of authority
  • The originality of thinking required
  • The purpose and nature of person-to-person work relationships
  • The nature and extent of supervisory control over the work of others
  • Required qualifications


Position Description

The position description is the official statement of duties and responsibilities assigned to a position. New hires should receive a copy of their position description within the first five work days of employment. Within 30 days after significant changes have occurred in the assignment of duties and responsibilities to a position, the appropriate manager must provide the incumbent employee with a current, updated position description. If an employee believes that his/her job duties have significantly changed, s/he should, in a timely manner, request an updated position description. Any time a written position description is changed, a copy must be submitted to Staff Human Resources and placed in the employee’s personnel file.

A written position description ensures clarity of assignments and assists in communication between manager and employee. Each position description should be signed by both the employee and manager. The manager's signature authorizes the assignment of duties and responsibilities. The employee's signature acknowledges receipt of the statement of duties.

A position description provides the basis for performance standards and evaluations and suggests the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to perform the work assigned. It is also used as a tool for evaluating a position and assisting a manager in assigning work, delegating responsibilities, establishing quality and quantity standards, budgeting for costs and delivery of personnel services, forecasting staffing needs, and analyzing turnover.

A position description for each employee should be reviewed, and updated if necessary, each year to serve as a basis for performance evaluations. The current position description must be forwarded to Staff Human Resources with the completed performance evaluation.

Classification Review

To accomplish the objectives of the classification program, positions are reviewed in the following circumstances:

  • Vacant or new positions are reviewed by Staff Human Resources to determine the correct position classification prior to recruitment. Vacancies provide managers an opportunity to review the assignment of duties and responsibilities within their work unit and to make classification changes without affecting individuals.
  • Managers should be reminded each fiscal year by the appropriate Vice President or the President to assess changes or the need for changes in their areas of responsibility if appropriate or if there are changes. Each major unit should prepare an annual staffing plan and should request classification review for positions which have changed significantly or which will change because of reorganization. Staffing plans and requests for classification reviews related to reorganizations are forwarded through the appropriate Vice President and to the Chief Staff Human Resources Officer if staff positions are involved.
  • Employees may request a classification review if they believe their duties and responsibilities are inappropriate to the classification of the position they occupy. The Employee Request for Position Classification Review should be submitted via the employee's manager to Staff Human Resources. If a manager does not agree with the request or with assertions in the request or attached documentation, s/he may comment in writing on the form or discuss areas of disagreement with Staff Human Resources. Employees may not request a classification review sooner than 18 months after the initiation of any previous classification review. However, if there is a substantial change in the level of responsibility in the duties of a position, the manager should request a review within 30 days of the change.
  • Comprehensive classification studies may be conducted periodically of all positions in a given department, college, or division or all positions in a classification series. Studies may originate in Staff Human Resources or in response to the request of a Dean, Director or Vice President. These reviews may also occur when the Chancellor's Office issues new classification and qualification standards for implementation.
  • A manager has the responsibility to assure that positions within his/her area of responsibility are properly classified. As such, a manager has the responsibility for requesting a classification review whenever it appears that the level of responsibility of a position has significantly changed. A manager may adjust the duties of a position to conform to the existing classification level of the position. However, where an employee has worked in a higher classification, the employee must be compensated for that period of time in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.


The process described in this plan is superseded by any classification appeal process included in collective bargaining agreements and is meant to provide recourse for management positions, positions not covered by collective bargaining agreements, and for those positions in bargaining units which do not include appeal processes in their agreements.

  • Employees have the right to appeal a classification determination within 21 calendar days of receipt of written notification of the determination. Classification appeals will be heard by the Chief Staff Human Resources Officer (or designee). Employees must complete a Notice of Classification Appeal (see attachment; blank forms are available on the Staff Human Resources website) and forward it to Staff Human Resources within 21 calendar days.
  • The Chief Staff Human Resources Officer (or designee) will meet with the employee no later than 21 calendar days after the filing of an appeal and will respond in writing to the employee no later than 30 calendar days after the meeting.
  • The results of the appeal review will be provided to the employee and in writing. If the position is not changed as a result of the appeal review, the process is complete. The effective date of a reclassification which has been decided through an appeal shall normally be the beginning of the pay period closest to the date of the original classification review request was received in Staff Human Resources. Decisions to grant retroactive pay for reclassifications should take into consideration the budget impact of such costs if the pay is retroactive to a prior fiscal year.


Deans, Directors and Vice Presidents who wish to reorganize their unit/s must consult with the Chief Staff Human Resources Officer (or designee) if staff positions are involved, before the implementation begins. This is essential to ensure that discussion occurs regarding the potential impact the reorganization may have on the classification of various positions within the unit. As responsibilities and reporting lines are altered, classifications may be impacted. If and when Staff Human Resources determines that organizational changes may have an major impact on a represented position/s the applicable local union representative/s will be notified of the organizational changes.


Prior to assigning additional, perhaps higher level duties to an employee, managers should contact Staff Human Resources to discuss the impact of the higher level duties on the classification of the employee. Each staff collective bargaining agreement contains provisions regarding temporary reassignment. These provisions must be properly followed to assure the temporary nature and length of the assignment and appropriate classification and compensation. In advance of the assignment of new duties and in the interest of fairness, it is important to consider whether a pool of eligible employees exists who might be interested in the opportunity.


To ensure that the classification plan is administered fairly and efficiently, it is the responsibility of

Vice Presidents

To assure that the MANAGERS in their divisions carry out their responsibilities:

  • To allocate human resources to most effectively meet university goals and plans.
  • To assign duties and responsibilities to all positions under their direction, making certain that new or additional assignments do not affect the classification level of a position unless consideration has been given to a possible reclassification.
  • To become familiar with the duties assigned the positions under their direction and to recognize when significant changes in an employee's duties and responsibilities occur.
  • To forward Employee Request for Classification Review forms and related documents to Staff Human Resources in a timely manner. If the manager does not submit the Request to Staff Human Resources within 30 days, the employee may file the Request directly with Staff Human Resources.
  • To maintain current department organization charts descriptive of department functions and goals. Copies of these charts should be forwarded to Staff Human Resources each year when staffing plans are submitted and each time an organizational change occurs affecting duty assignments.
  • To review position descriptions annually as part of the performance evaluation process, and otherwise when revisions are necessary, to ensure that employees are provided with accurate and comprehensive descriptions.
  • To provide new employees with copies of their position descriptions within the first five days of employment.
  • To be receptive to discussion when an employee expresses concern about the classification of his/her position.
  • To use the assistance of Staff Human Resources before restructuring jobs or implementing reorganization plans in order to minimize the potential for creating inequities in classification.
  • To sign only after fully reading, reviewing and verifying the content of the forms and related documentation, ensuring all information is accurate and complete.


  • To be aware of policies posted on the Human Resources web page pertaining to the initiation of classification reviews.
  • To request up-to-date position descriptions when appropriate and/or assist in preparing position descriptions which reflect the duties and responsibilities assigned their positions when requested by managers or Staff Human Resources.

Staff Human Resources

  • To assist managers in designing positions to meet the needs of the University as well as to ensure that those positions are classified appropriately.
  • To assist employees and managers in writing position descriptions which accurately describe the duties and responsibilities assigned to positions and in ensuring performance standards are appropriate.
  • To communicate and implement new classification and qualification standards issued by the Chancellor's Office.
  • To determine appropriate classifications of positions after thorough review with employees and managers, as deemed necessary.
  • To participate with managers in the review process.
  • To serve as consultants regarding the impact of a classification change,, including but not limited to salary/payroll implications, effective dates, retroactivity, exempt and non-exempt status, equity, impact on other positions within a department/unit, and qualifications/licenses.


Request for Classification Review: (DOC) Notice of Classification Appeal: (DOC)