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CSU Breaks Promise to Address APC Concerns Over Blanket "Mandatory Reporter" Designation

APC Re-Activates Unfair Practice Charge Against CSU

11/21/2013

Effective January 1, 2013, the California Penal code was amended to add those CSU employees “whose duties bring [them] into contact with children on a regular basis” to the definition of “mandated reporters” who must report cases of suspected child abuse or risk being found guilty of “a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.”  Moreover, “[w]here the abuse results in death or great bodily injury, the mandated reporter [who fails to report a case of suspected child abuse] shall be punished by up to one year in jail, a fine of $5,000, or both.”

On November 21, 2012, the CSU informed APC that it intended to designate all CSU employees as “mandated reporters,” regardless of whether or not their duties bring them into contact with children on a regular basis.  APC requested to meet and confer (a/k/a bargain) about this plan and expressed its concern that by designating Unit 4 members whose duties do not  bring them into contact with children on a regular basis, the CSU needlessly would expose these members, who are not trained to recognize cases of suspected child abuse, to the risk of criminal punishment for failure to do so.

Without fulfilling its legal obligation to bargain with APC over this matter within the scope of representation (a/k/a mandatory subject of bargaining) until an agreement or impasse is reached, the CSU went ahead and unilaterally designated all CSU employees as “mandatory reporters” effective January 1, 2013.  APC promptly file an Unfair Practice Charge with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) over this unlawful unilateral change.

On March 4, 2013, CSU asked PERB to place the Charge in abeyance because “CSU is presently reviewing the Executive Order to respond to concerns raised by APC and others” and “CSU expects that it will offer guidance and/or revising the Executive Order to address such concerns.”  Despite the fact that the Unfair Practice had already been committed, and that no future revision of the Executive Order could undo it retroactively, APC agreed to place the Charge in abeyance in reliance on CSU’s promise to address its concerns prospectively.

That reliance proved as unwarranted as CSU’s promise proved hollow.  On October 30, 2013, the CSU informed APC that it intended to reissue the Executive Order in a form that would still designate all CSU employees, including Unit 4 members whose duties do not bring them in contact with children on a regular basis, as mandated reporters.  With an amicable resolution of the dispute now as far off as it was in March, APC on November 12, 2013, requested that PERB take the charge out of abeyance and issue a Complaint in the matter, the next step in processing the Charge.

APC believes that the CSU either should analyze the duties of all Unit 4 employees and designate only those employees whose duties bring them in contact with children on a regular basis as “mandatory reporters,” which is all that the law requires, or that it should at least give those Unit 4 employees whose duties do not bring them into contact with children on a regular basis an opportunity to “opt out” of the mandatory reporter designation.  By contrast, APC believes that a blanket designation of all Unit 4 employees as mandatory reporters, regardless of their duties, and with no opportunity to “opt out” of that designation, is not in the best interest of our members, CSU students, and the public.