SB 270 – Authorizes Special PERB Charge With Civil Penalty For Failure To Provide Unions With Employees’ Contact Information

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies, Fire Watch, Law Enforcement Briefing Room, Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education, Public Employers, Public Safety
DATE: Nov 03, 2021

Government Code Section 3558, part of the Public Employee Communications Chapter, requires public employers to provide labor representatives with the names and home addresses of newly hired employees, as well as their job titles, departments, work locations, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses, within 30 days of hire or by the first pay period of the month following hire. Public employers must also provide this information for all employees in a bargaining unit at least every 120 days, with limited exception. Under current law, a labor organization alleging a violation of this section can file an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board, subject to PERB’s normal procedures.

Effective July 1, 2022, SB 270 authorizes public employee unions to file a special form of UPC for an alleged violation of Section 3558, if the following requirements are met:

  1. The union must give written notice to the employer of an alleged violation of Section 3558, including the facts and theories to support the alleged violation.
  2. If the alleged violation is that the employer provided an inaccurate or incomplete list, the employer must have failed to cure the violation within 20 calendar days by providing an accurate and complete list.

Notably, the opportunity to cure does not apply to any other violation, including, but not limited to, the failure to submit a list of newly hired employees or failure to provide a list of bargaining unit members within the statutory time periods.

An employer taking action to cure a violation, where applicable, must give written notice to the union of the curative action taken either electronically or by certified mail within the 20 calendar day period. SB 270 also limits a public employer’s opportunity to cure violations to a maximum of three times in any 12-month period.

Where a union prevails on an unfair practice charge under these provisions, SB 270 subjects the public employer to a civil penalty payable to the state’s General Fund, not to exceed $10,000. The exact amount of the penalty is left to PERB’s discretion, based on (1) the public employer’s annual budget; (2) the severity of the violation; and (3) any prior history of violations by the public employer.

SB 270 also requires PERB to award a prevailing party attorneys’ fees and costs from the inception of proceedings through to PERB’s final decision, except in the case of proceedings challenging the dismissal of a charge by PERB’s general Counsel. The bill also allows PERB to recover attorney’s fees in court proceedings to enforce a board order, or when defending a decision of the board after a party seeks judicial review, if PERB is the prevailing party.

(SB 270 amends Section 3558 of the Government Code.)

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