The Appellate Group

Cieply v. Weber County

Cieply v. Weber County, 2024 UT App 36 (Orme, J.)


The Weber County Sheriff demoted Cieply from the rank of corporal to deputy after finding that Cieply had violated Weber County’s nepotism policy multiple times. After an ALJ held this was not an abuse of discretion, Cieply filed a petition for review of the ALJ’s order in district court, asking the court to reinstate him to the rank of corporal and award back-pay. The district court affirmed and Cieply appealed, arguing that the district court erred in holding that the ALJ’s order was not arbitrary and capricious. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • The district court erred when it upheld the ALJ’s determination that demotion and temporary pay reduction were proportional and consistent sanctions.
  • Practice tip: A reviewing court reviews final agency decisions regarding municipal employees for an abuse of discretion, but it reviews final agency decisions regarding county employees de novo when the issue involves claims that the decision was arbitrary and capricious.

Read the full court opinion