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1000.02159 – Workloads

An employer must bargain if it materially alters employees’ workload. (County of Santa Clara (2022) PERB Decision No. 2820-M, pp. 5-6 & fn. 4; Cerritos Community College District (2022) PERB Decision No. 2819, p. 30; County of Kern (2018) PERB Decision No. 2615-M, p. 10 & adopting proposed decision at p. 11.) A change in workload may be found even when the nature of duties assigned does not materially change—for instance, if an employer assigns fewer employees to perform a steady amount of work. (See, e.g., Fullerton Union High School District (1978) PERB Decision No. 53, pp. 7-8.) The converse can also be true: an employer can impose materially new duties without increasing overall workload, as alleged in County of Santa Clara, supra, PERB Decision No. 2820-M. However, these two types of material changes often occur in concert with one another and establishing one can aid in proving the other. For instance, if new duties increase employee workload, that tends to show that the new duties may not have been reasonably comprehended within existing duties. Physicians who work in state prisons were reasonable in understanding that California Correctional Health Care Service expected them to provide patients experiencing substance use disorder with materially new services beyond prescribing medication, including behavioral modification. (pp. 11-20.)