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409.01000 – Business Necessity

Because some Court employees had regular contact with the public as part of their duties, while others did not, and the record contained little evidence as to particular job classifications the Board rejected the Court’s argument that, because of its constitutional mandate to provide both the appearance and the fact of impartiality and neutrality to all litigants who appear before it, the ban on displaying writings or union insignia anywhere in the courthouse visible to the public is entitled to a presumption of legality. The Board reasoned that an objectively reasonable person viewing buttons or other regalia worn by Court employees and expressing support for the exclusive representative and/or its bargaining demands would not be attributed to the Superior Court judge assigned to the case. (p. 24.) Under the PERB-administered statutes, the organizational right of access to the workplace is presumed and the burden is on the employer to establish that its regulation is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to prevent disruption of operations. PERB has long held that wearing union clothing, buttons or pins in the workplace is protected, absent a showing of special circumstances to justify the restriction. (pp. 21-22.) The Board adopted the ALJ’s findings and conclusions that the Court’s rules prohibiting employees from wearing union regalia anywhere in the courthouse and the display of union writings and images in all work areas visible to the public were overly broad and interfered with protected rights under the Trial Court Act.