Decision 1880E – Oakland Unified School District

SF-CE-2283-E

Decision Date: January 11, 2007

Decision Type: PERB Decision

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Perc Vol: 31
Perc Index: 45

Decision Headnotes

501.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; DISCRIMINATION
501.01000 – In General; Elements of Prima Facie Case

A teacher’s letter complaining about student fights deemed protected activity under EERA, because the letter related to the conditions of his employment and he copied his union representative. The District retaliated against a probationary teacher when it issued him a notice of non-reelection. A teacher’s attendance at a mayor’s meeting which focused on issues affecting conditions of employment at the teacher’s school deemed protected activity under EERA. A teacher reasonably believed that his continued employment would be decided at a meeting, therefore his request for OEA representation was protected activity under EERA. A teacher’s participation on the School Climate and Leadership Committees, which discussed issues of safety, school violence and student discipline were protected activity under EERA.

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

Requiring a teacher to attend an off-campus meeting in the middle of summer as a condition of continued employment was disparate treatment, when no other teachers were required to attend such meetings.

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

The District acted with an unlawful motive when it issued a teacher a notice of non-reelection on the same day that the teacher delivered the minutes of a controversial committee meeting to his principal; this timing coupled with the District's inconsistent justifications for its decision sufficiently state a prima facie case of retaliation.

504.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS
504.07000 – No reason or Inconsistent Reasons Given; Shifting Justifications

The District acted with an unlawful motive when it issued a teacher a notice of non-reelection on the same day that the teacher delivered the minutes of a controversial committee meeting to his principal; this timing coupled with the District's inconsistent justifications for its decision sufficiently state a prima facied case of retaliation. The District’s shifting justifications for its adverse actions against a probationary teacher were evidence of retaliation. In stark contrast to its justifications at the time of the adverse action, at hearing the District emphasized the inappropriate nature of a silent reading prompt as a key ground for its decision to non-reelect the teacher. decision sufficiently state a prima facie case of retaliation.

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

A teacher was labeled as not a “team player” and was questioned by school administrators about his “commitment” to his school and the need to involve “outsiders” when he sought union representation; these facts were all evidence of anti-union animus by the District.

505.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; DEFENSES
505.01000 – In General

The District met the burden of showing that it would have placed the teacher on administrative leave even if he had not engaged in protected activity. The District was unable to show that it would have non-reelected a probationary teacher regardless of his participation in protected activities, because there were discrepancies in the formal and informal evaluation forms offered to support the District’s position. An employee cannot cloak his or her own personal agenda in the veil of protected activity, and then seek the same insulation which such protected activities are afforded under EERA. Despite some troubling questions surrounding a teacher’s grading practices, the Board held that the District failed to carry its burden in showing that it would have chosen to non-reelect him regardless of his engagement in protected activities, because there were glaring inconsistencies underlying the District's decision to non-reelect him.

505.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; DEFENSES
505.06000 – Inefficiency or Incompetence

The District was unable to show that it would have non-reelected a probationary teacher regardless of his participation in protected activities, because there were discrepancies in the formal and informal evaluation forms offered to support the District’s position. Despite some troubling questions surrounding a teacher’s grading practices, the Board held that the District failed to carry its burden in showing that it would have chosen to non-reelect him regardless of his engagement in protected activities, because there were glaring inconsistencies underlying the District's decision to non-reelect him.

505.00000 – EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; DEFENSES
505.11000 – Legitimate Business Purpose/Business Necessity

A probationary teacher engaged in a personal attack on his principal and her administration after he learned that he would not be reelected, and his decisions to express his personal grievances in a memo and at faculty and leadership committee meetings do not merit protected status under EERA. The District met its burden and demonstrated that it would have placed a teacher on administrative leave even if he had not engaged in protected activity, as he was perceived as a safety threat to other faculty members.