Decision 2845M – City of Sunnyvale
Decision Date: November 14, 2022
Decision Type: PERB Decision (Non-Precedential)
Description: Judieth Sullivan-Ojuola (Sullivan) excepted to the proposed decision of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Sullivan filed an unfair practice charge against her former employer, the City of Sunnyvale, for allegedly rejecting her from probation in retaliation for activities protected by the Meyers‑Milias‑Brown Act (MMBA). The ALJ found that Sullivan failed to establish a causal nexus between her protected activity and her rejection from probation. The ALJ further found that in any event, the City established its affirmative defense that it rejected her from probation for a legitimate business reason, viz., Sullivan’s deficient work performance. Sullivan filed exceptions challenging several of the ALJ’s factual findings and arguing that she had established nexus through evidence of disparate treatment. The City filed no exceptions and urged the Board to affirm the proposed decision.
Disposition: The Board affirmed the ALJ’s factual findings and the conclusion that the City did not violate the MMBA. The Board found that Sullivan did not establish a prima facie case of retaliation because all the evidence she marshaled to show nexus either happened before she engaged in protected activity or failed to support the inferences Sullivan argued.