EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; PERSONS PROTECTED – In General
Single Topic for Decision 2381E
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502.01000 – In General
Neither of charging party’s e-mails was part of a collectively bargained for grievance procedure, addressed the collective concerns of the bargaining unit, nor sought to enforce rights stated in the CBA. The correspondence concerned complaints about charging party’s behavior and his defense of his behavior was undertaken alone and for his sole benefit. Because the e-mail did not refer to a grievance, did not appear to address a contract violation and was not on the grievance form required under the collective bargaining agreement, the “tangential reference” in the e-mail to the union president was insufficient to provide a connection to any collective concerns of the bargaining unit. Charging Party’s e-mail concerns an issue undertaken by himself and for his sole benefit. As such, it is not a “logical continuation of group activity” and is not protected under EERA. Absent any demonstration that charging party and co-worker had a right to a key to the multi-purpose room (MPR) under the collective bargaining agreement or that their hours of employment were altered because of the Principal’s key system, charging party has failed to demonstrate that his request for his and co-worker’s own keys to the MPR was EERA protected conduct. Because charging party has not shown that he and his co-worker had a statutory right to a key, we distinguish this case from those where employees jointly prosecute alleged violations of workplace rights that are not contained in the collective bargaining agreement, but contained in external law. We disagree with charging party that the Office of the General Counsel determined that his e-mails were not protected because of their number and tone. The dismissal letter clearly points out that the e-mails in question lack EERA protection, because they were not undertaken as group activity or a logical continuation thereof. The dismissal letter merely points out that the Monterey County Superior Court found that the number and tone of charging party’s e-mail communications were sufficient to form the basis for dismissal on the grounds of persistent refusal to obey school laws or regulations, a basis for dismissal under the Education Code, not EERA.