EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION; DEFENSES – Business Necessity
Single Topic for Decision 2632M
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409.01000 – Business Necessity
While motive is not part of the prima facie case of interference, where the respondent has asserted that it acted for a legitimate business purpose, PERB analyzes the affirmative defense, in part, using principles applicable in a “mixed motive” discrimination case. Specifically, the Board may consider not only whether the stated justification is legitimate, but also whether it was, in fact, the reason for the employer’s conduct. Affirmative defense fails where the key distinction at the heart of the unlawful pay structure is not a distinction in which employees earn more due to higher skill or higher level work; to the contrary, the only explanation that accurately describes the District’s pay structure is that the District wanted unrepresented managers to earn more, even if they were at the same level as represented managers.