Decision 2376E – Rocklin Unified School District

SA-CE-2562-E

Decision Date: June 12, 2014

Decision Type: PERB Decision

View Full Text (PDF)

Perc Vol: 39
Perc Index: 3

Decision Headnotes

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

Although school nurses’ participation in layoff hearings under the Education Code is not necessarily protected activity, the nurses’ collective invocation of their right to participate in the layoff hearings cannot be parsed from the long, continuous course of their protected activity in banding together to raise workplace issues such as workload, assignments, scheduling, poor communication, lack of support for the lead nurse position and safety concerns.

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

Disparate treatment found in fact that the school district notified the school board that the school nurses would not be available for work due to their attendance at layoff hearings, but did not take similar action with respect to the teachers or counselors who attended the hearings; further, commenting that the nurses’ concern for the students’ well-being was “regrettable,” while refraining from commenting negatively about the teachers and counselors, was further evidence that the nurses were being singled out.

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

That the timing of the adverse action in relation to the protected activity coincides with a statutory timeline for layoff under the Education Code does not mean that timing cannot be considered in the determination of unlawful motive; if that were the case, anytime a statutory layoff procedure is used as the mechanism by which to carry out a retaliatory dismissal, PERB would be precluded from considering timing as evidence of unlawful motive.

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

School district’s proffered affirmative defense that school nurses would have been laid off for budgetary reasons even if the absence of protected activity was not supported by the weight of the evidence; given that the school district was required by the state to provide health services for the care of children and the cost savings from the proposed alternate health services delivery option was presented to the school board without costing out the elements and comparing it to the existing system, the school district’s proffered budgetary reason for the layoffs was determined to be not honestly invoked nor the true reason for the layoffs when weighed against the evidence of retaliatory motive.

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

School district’s proffered affirmative defense that the existing health services delivery system required restructuring because of all the problems encountered by the school district in dealing with the school nurses on workplace issues was not supported by the weight of the evidence; given that the school district was informed that the best health services delivery option would be to maintain the status quo and that the very issues at the heart of the nurses’ protected activities were the same reasons cited by the school district in justifying the layoffs, the school district’s proffered restructuring reason for the layoffs was determined to be pre-textual and not the true reason for the layoffs.