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409.01000 – Business Necessity

* * * VACATED IN PART by Fresno County Superior Court (2019) PERB Decision No. 2517a-C, where the Board issued a modified decision after the Court of Appeal partially vacated a portion of the original decision. Specifically, the Court of Appeal: (1) found that the court-employer’s need to appear neutral to the public was a special circumstance sufficient to support a ban on wearing insignia in the courthouse; (2) set aside PERB’s decision regarding display of union images and writings; (3) upheld PERB’s unalleged violations doctrine; and (4) upheld PERB’s decision finding a violation in the court’s prohibition against distributing union literature in work areas visible to the public. * * *

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 analogy to federal cases involving patient-care areas in hospitals to justify its ban on displaying writings or union insignia anywhere in the courthouse visible to the public. 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.