PARTIES; DEFINITIONS; WHO IS AN EMPLOYER? – Agents (See also 1400)
Single Topic for Decision 2464M
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201.02000 – Agents (See also 1400)
Under PERB’s Inglewood test, the party asserting an agency relationship by way of apparent authority has the burden of proving that theory by competent and admissible but not necessarily direct evidence. Because the test is an objective one whose inquiry is what employees would reasonably believe under the circumstances, what any particular employee subjectively believed is not determinative. An employer’s high-ranking officials, particularly those whose duties include employee or labor relations or collective bargaining matters, are generally presumed to speak and act on behalf of the employer, such that their words and conduct may be used to impute liability in unfair practice cases against the employer. A public employer may be held responsible for the actions of its highest ranking representatives or officials, even when they are engaged in ostensibly “private” conduct that contravenes the employer’s official policy. Where the City Council knew of the Mayor’s efforts to alter employee pension benefits through a ballot measure, of his use of the vestments and prestige of his office to promote this policy change, and, of his rejection of repeated requests from the Unions to meet and confer regarding this change, PERB found that City Council’s failure to repudiate Mayor’s conduct, including his outright refusal to meet and confer over the decision, City Council ratified Mayor’s conduct.