Decision 1714E – Simi Valley Unified School District

LA-CE-4415-E

Decision Date: November 29, 2004

Decision Type: PERB Decision

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Perc Vol: 29
Perc Index: 19

Decision Headnotes

300.00000 – UNFAIR PRACTICE ISSUES; PROTECTED ACTIVITIES
300.01000 – In General

The teacher engaged in protected conduct in his role as Association site representative, representing coworkers in meetings with the school principal, challenging the proposed independent study program at staff meetings and by memo, discussions of the program with the Association, and participation in a meeting with management and Association representatives to resolve concerns about the program. Requests for representation in and of themselves are protected conduct. The teacher’s request for representation for a proposed meeting with the principle was therefore protected.

300.00000 – UNFAIR PRACTICE ISSUES; PROTECTED ACTIVITIES
300.04000 – Individual/Concerted/Activities/Self-Representation

The teacher engaged in protected conduct in his role as Association site representative, representing coworkers in meetings with the school principal, challenging the proposed independent study program at staff meetings and by memo, discussions of the program with the Association, and participation in a meeting with management and Association representatives to resolve concerns about the program. Requests for representation in and of themselves are protected conduct. The teacher’s request for representation for a proposed meeting with the principle was therefore protected.

300.00000 – UNFAIR PRACTICE ISSUES; PROTECTED ACTIVITIES
300.08000 – Mistake as to Employee’s Activities

An employer acts unlawfully if it retaliates in the mistaken belief that the employee has engaged in protected activity. The principal expressed on several occasions her mistaken belief that the teacher had filed a grievance about the independent study program.

400.00000 – EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE, RESTRAINT, COERCION; EMPLOYER INTERFERENCE WITH, RESTRAINT, OR COERCION OF EMPLOYEES
400.01000 – In General; Standards

The test for whether a respondent has interfered with the rights of employees under the EERA does not require that unlawful motive be established, only that at least slight harm employee rights results from the conduct. The principal’s conduct (the frequency, nature and tenor of her observations of the teacher’s classroom) harmed the teacher’s protected rights to act as a site representative, to challenge policies as violative of protected rights (unilateral changes in hours and terms and conditions of employment), and to request union representation.

503.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; ADVERSE ACTIONS
503.01000 – In General

The District imposed adverse action on the teacher through the principal’s silent, frequent and unannounced visits to the teacher’s classroom, which culminated in a memo imposing 26 hours of observations in a 2 month period. The teacher’s experience with these visits was significantly different in number, frequency and tenor than those of other teachers at the school.

503.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; ADVERSE ACTIONS
503.03000 – Warning Letters, Reprimands, Evaluations

The District imposed adverse action on the teacher through the principal’s silent, frequent and unannounced visits to the teacher’s classroom, which culminated in a memo imposing 26 hours of observations in a 2 month period. The teacher’s experience with these visits was significantly different in number, frequency and tenor than those of other teachers at the school.)

503.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; ADVERSE ACTIONS
503.15000 – Other

The District imposed adverse action on the teacher through the principal’s silent, frequent and unannounced visits to the teacher’s classroom, which culminated in a memo imposing 26 hours of observations in a 2 month period. The teacher’s experience with these visits was significantly different in number, frequency and tenor than those of other teachers at the school.

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.02000 – Disparate Treatment

The District imposed adverse action on the teacher through the principal’s silent, frequent and unannounced visits to the teacher’s classroom, which culminated in a memo imposing 26 hours of observations in a 2 month period. The teacher’s experience with these visits was significantly different in number, frequency and tenor than those of other teachers at the school.

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.03000 – Departure from Past Practices or Procedures

Before October 2001, when the Association challenged the independent study program, the teacher and the principal had a good professional relationship; after that period, the principal visited the teacher’s classroom at least 40 times for 10 or more minutes from the adjoining classroom without explanation or greeting

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.04000 – Timing of Action

Before October 2001, when the Association challenged the independent study program, the teacher and the principal had a good professional relationship; after that period, the principal visited the teacher’s classroom at least 40 times for 10 or more minutes from the adjoining classroom without explanation or greeting. The memo scheduling 26 classroom visits in a two-month period was written immediately after the teacher requested union representation for a proposed meeting with the principal.

505.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; DEFENSES
505.05000 – Dishonesty or Disloyalty to Employer

The teacher engaged in protected conduct in his role as Association site representative, representing coworkers in meetings with the school principal, challenging the proposed independent study program at staff meetings and by memo, discussions of the program with the Association, and participation in a meeting with management and Association representatives to resolve concerns about the program. Requests for representation in and of themselves are protected conduct. The teacher’s request for representation for a proposed meeting with the principle was therefore protected. An employer acts unlawfully if it retaliates in the mistaken belief that the employee has engaged in protected activity. The principal expressed on several occasions her mistaken belief that the teacher had filed a grievance about the independent study program.

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.06000 – Meritorious or Satisfactory Work Record; Prior Promotion or Wage Increase

Although the principal testified that she had concerns about the teacher’s teaching style for months, the teacher had an exemplary record. In fact the principal had previously written a glowing recommendation for the teacher’s application as a consulting teacher, in which he would evaluate “teachers in trouble.” The teacher’s performance evaluations included praise for the teacher’s ability to assess students and to modify his teaching style to meet students’ needs.

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.12000 – Employer Statements or Conduct; Threats

On several occasions, the principal expressed, and other teachers parroted, their mistaken belief that the teacher had filed a grievance about the independent study program.) The memo was the first time that the principal expressed her concerns about the teacher’s work after 6 months of silent visits. The principal’s testimony that the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services approved the memo to the teacher scheduling 26 hours of observation conflicts with the testimony of the Assistant Superintendent, who stated that the draft he reviewed was missing the proposed hours of observation. Although the principal testified that she had concerns about the teacher’s teaching style for months, the teacher had an exemplary record. In fact the principal had previously written a glowing recommendation for the teacher’s application as a consulting teacher, in which he would evaluate “teachers in trouble.” The teacher’s performance evaluations included praise for the teacher’s ability to assess students and to modify his teaching style to meet students’ needs.