The Appellate Group

Onysko v. Dept. of Envntl. Quality

Onysko v. Department of Environmental Quality and Career Service Review Office, 2020 UT App 51 (Orme, J.)


A government employer terminated a veteran employee. After a days-long hearing, a hearing officer from the Career Service Review Office reviewed the termination and upheld it. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The hearing officer could consider the employee’s conduct during the hearing as confirmation of the employer’s evidence about the employee’s difficult manner and negative effect on morale and productivity, which was a matter of disagreement between the parties that the hearing officer needed to resolve. 
  • The employee’s due process rights were not violated because he received adequate notice—either actual notice or written notice—of the reasons for his proposed termination prior to his pre-termination hearing. For those reasons where he was not given adequate notice, he did not show that he had been harmed. 
  • The hearing officer’s findings did not violate the residuum rule, which requires that an administrative agency’s findings of fact be supported by a residuum of legal evidence competent in a court of law even if the agency has received and considered evidence of a lesser quality. The hearsay statements in the hearing officer’s order were either not findings of fact, harmless, supported by other non-hearsay evidence, or unsupported by sufficient legal analysis. 

Read the full court opinion