Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Court of Appeal: El Dorado County Violated DSA's Rights

In El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff's Association v. County of El Dorado, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court to find the County violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act by eliminating deputy sheriff positions without meeting and consulting with DSA.  The Court decided the County's actions are invalid and the County must meet and consult with the DSA on the issue.

In 2011, the County deleted several positions from the DSA's bargaining unit as part of a plan to civilianize perimeter security at county courthouses.  The County claimed it did not have to give the DSA notice it was deleting the positions.  However, the County had a local labor relations rule stating "The [County] shall, after notice and consultation with affected employee organizations, allocate new classifications or positions, delete eliminated classifications or positions..."  The Court held this local rule required the County to give notice and engage in consultation with the DSA before it eliminated its positions.

The County tried to get out of its obligations by claiming that MMBA section 3505 does not require the County to engage with the DSA before deleting positions and that requiring the County to consult with the DSA somehow interfered with the authority of the board of supervisors over the County's budget.  The Court rejected both claims.

As the Court noted, Government Code section 3507.1 allows local governments to create their own, local labor relations rules as long as those rules comply with the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.  As a result, different local governments often have somewhat different rules for labor relations.  In this case, the Court of Appeal made clear section 3507.1 "requires a local public agency to follow its own rules."  Thus, it doesn't matter if the same rule would apply in another jurisdiction without the same local rule.

Mastagni Holstedt, APC attorneys Kathleen N. Mastagni Storm and Jeffrey R. A. Edwards represented the El Dorado DSA in the appeal.