Decision 2894S – State of California (Department of Public Health)


Decision Date: March 11, 2024

Decision Type: PERB Decision (Non-Precedential)

Description:  SEIU Local 1000 filed an unfair practice charge alleging that the State of California Department of Health (CDPH) retaliated against bargaining unit employees working in the Health Facility Evaluator Nurse (HFEN) classification series and interfered with their exercise of protected rights. PERB issued a complaint alleging that CDPH had: (1) refused to address vacancy issues, (2) refused to address recruitment and retention differentials as a solution to hiring and vacancy issues, (3) refused to consider reclassification as a solution to pay and vacancy issues, (4) failed to attend Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) meetings in order to avoid addressing employee concerns about their licenses, and (5) failed to reimburse employees for mileage and extended working hours for travel to distant facilities during uncompensated time. The complaint alleged that CDPH took these actions in response to employees raising workplace concerns and serving on JLMCs to advocate for proper safety, assignments, and pay.

After a hearing and briefing, the ALJ dismissed the retaliation claim, finding that although SEIU could prove some of the elements of a prima facie case, it ultimately failed to prove the nexus element of the retaliation claim. The ALJ alternately found that even if SEIU successfully established a prima facie case, the charge would still be dismissed because CDPH established its affirmative defense. The ALJ also dismissed the interference charge, finding that that a reasonable employee would not have been intimidated by CDPH’s conduct.

Disposition:  In a non-precedential decision, the Board upheld ALJ’s factual and substantive legal determinations, and dismissed both the retaliation and interference claims.

Perc Vol: 48
Perc Index: 147

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