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1105.01000 – In General

By his exceptions, charging party asserted that the ALJ relied on arguments that the prevailing employer never offered. PERB takes a practical, fact-based approach to deciding unfair practice charges. Once a party pleads a general theory of violation (or, as here, a defense), PERB employs a flexible approach to determining whether the evidence presented at hearing supports the parties’ claims. (See e.g. San Diego Community College District (2019) PERB Decision No. 2625, adopting proposed decision at p. 19; Bellflower Unified School District (2017) PERB Decision No. 2544, pp 5-6.) PERB held that when ALJs are analyzing unfair practice charges through well-established legal tests such as the Novato framework, they need not ignore legally salient facts even if a party has not specifically urged that they be considered or has failed to offer arguments as to their relevance. These principles certainly hold true in discrimination and retaliation cases, where “the trier of fact may consider the totality of evidence and draw inferences reasonably justified therefrom.” (California State University, Hayward (1991) PERB Decision No. 869-H, adopting proposed decision at p. 23, fn. 13); see also Los Angeles Unified School District (2016) PERB Decision No. 2479, pp. 29-30.)