Tuesday, September 5, 2017

PERB Again Upholds Its Jurisdiction to Hear Unfair Labor Practices Charges Brought by 830.1 Peace Officers Unions

In Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Orange (July 19, 2017) PERB Case No. LA-CE-1101-M, PERB's Chief ALJ Shawn P. Cloughesy confirmed that police officer and deputy sheriff associations representing members who are Penal Code Section 830.1 peace officers have jurisdiction before PERB.  Orange County argued that PERB lacks jurisdiction over AOCDS because the bargaining units represented by the Association includes Deputy Sheriff I and II, Investigator, Investigator I, Sergeant, District Attorney Investigator, Investigator-Polygraph Operator, and Supervising Attorney's Investigator and Sergeant, who are classified as peace officers under Penal Code section 830.1.  MMBA section 3511 excludes “persons who are peace officers” from PERB's jurisdiction.

Relying on a case won by Mastagni HolstedtCounty of Santa Clara (2015) PERB Decision No. 2431-M, PERB upheld its authority to hear charges “that are brought by employee organizations, including employee organizations representing or seeking to represent units including persons who are peace officers.” PERB specified that its authority applies to both adjudicating and remedying unfair practices in those cases.  PERB exercised jurisdiction over two AOCDS units, one comprised exclusively of peace officers, the other containing both peace officer and non-peace officer positions. Thus, the exemption under Section 3511 only excludes from PERB individual MMBA actions brought by persons who are 830.1 peace officers. As a result, an unlawful interference or retaliation against an officer of a peace officer union could result in duplicative litigation with the individual officers' action being brought before superior court and the union's action being adjudicated by PERB. Pending legislation in A.B. 530 would bring all unfair practices involving 830.1 peace officers and their unions before PERB while preserving the ability to seek injunction relief.