Decision A516S – State of California (Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)


Decision Date: June 24, 2024

Decision Type: Administrative Appeal

Description:  This case came before the Board on an interlocutory appeal filed by Respondent State of California (Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) (CDCR) to an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) order denying its two motions to defer an unfair practice charge to arbitration. The ALJ denied Respondent’s motions on the ground that CDCR withdrew its agreement to be bound by an arbitration award when it filed a Petition to Vacate or Correct Arbitration Award in superior court.

Following the order, CDCR’s appeal, and California Correctional Peace Officers Association’s opposition thereto, the ALJ certified CDCR’s appeal to the Board itself pursuant to PERB Regulation 32200.

Disposition:  The Board affirmed the ALJ’s conclusion that deferral to an arbitration award is not appropriate when the moving party refuses to be bound by the award. Hence, the Board denied the appeal and remanded the matter to PERB’s Division of Administrative Law for proceedings consistent with its order.

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Decision Headnotes

1107.12000 – Interlocutory Appeal

A Board agent’s decision to defer a charge to arbitration and place it in abeyance pending completion of such proceedings is an administrative determination appealable under PERB Regulation 32360. (County of Orange (2022) PERB Order No. Ad-496-M, p. 4.) In contrast, a Board agent’s denial of a request to defer a charge to arbitration may only be appealed if the Board agent certifies it to the Board. (Ramona Unified School District (1985) PERB Decision No. 517, p. 3.) (p. 4.)

1102.02000 – Post Arbitration; Repugnancy

The Board rejected the employer’s motion to defer to arbitration where the employer filed a petition to vacate or correct the arbitration award in superior court. The petition, by its very terms, sought to vacate the arbitration award, or in the alternative, correct the award to strike any findings and conclusions that the employer alleged “infringe[d] on the [State Personnel Board’s] jurisdiction,” i.e., the rescission of an employee’s suspension and accompanying make-whole order. In either scenario, CDCR refused to comply with the arbitrator’s order, thereby failing the third prong of the post-arbitration deferral standard. (p. 5.)

1103.11000 – Request for Deferral to Arbitration

PERB will dismiss and defer a complaint to an arbitrator’s award if: (1) the unfair practice issues were presented to and considered by the arbitrator; (2) the arbitral proceeding was fair and regular; (3) the parties agreed to be bound; and (4) the decision of the arbitrator was not clearly repugnant to the purposes and policies of the statute. Post-arbitration deferral is only appropriate where all four elements are satisfied. (pp. 4-5.)