PERB: OPERATION, JURISDICTION, AUTHORITY; SCOPE OF PERB JURISDICTION – In General/Exclusive Initial Jurisdiction-Deferral to Arbitration; Deference by Reviewing Courts
Single Topic for Decision 2548E
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102.01000 – In General/Exclusive Initial Jurisdiction-Deferral to Arbitration; Deference by Reviewing Courts
Where Charging Party’s discrimination allegation turns on a matter of law outside PERB’s traditional expertise, i.e., whether the public school employer complied with state law and/or regulations governing certificated employee retirement credit, the appropriate question is not which of two competing interpretations of external law is the more plausible, but whether the language in dispute is reasonably susceptible to the charging party’s interpretation and whether that interpretation supports a viable, i.e., non-frivolous, legal theory of an unfair practice or other violation of a PERB-administered statute. Where the investigation of an unfair practice charge results in receipt of conflicting allegations of fact or contrary theories of law, fair proceedings, if not due process, demand that a complaint be issued and the matter be sent to formal hearing to test a novel theory or competing theories of law, so long as the theory advanced is “viable,” i.e. non-frivolous. The Board is necessarily cautious about rejecting allegations involving statutory, decisional, regulatory, or other authority outside PERB’s jurisdiction and special expertise in labor relations, particularly when the area of external law is itself unsettled.