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PERB Rules CSU Violated Duty to Bargain with APC About "Mandated Reporter" Training, Discipline

Board Rejects CSU´s "Business Necessity" and Other Excuses

10/07/2014

In a decision that became final on September 24, 2014, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) left intact the designation of all Unit 4 employees as "mandated reporters" of suspected cases of child abuse.  PERB also ruled, however, that the CSU violated its duty to bargain with APC about the training that will be provided to these newly designated "mandated reporters" and the effects of that designation on, e.g., employee discipline.  We previously reported on the case.

In so ruling, PERB rejected CSU´s "business necessity" and other excuses.  The board observed:

CSU failed to prove either that it faced an actual emerfency or that there were no alternatives to unilateral action.  Any emergency in this case appears to bec aused largely by CSU´s own conduct. . . .  CSU had roughlly three months between the passage of AB 1434 and its effective date.  CSU offered no explanation for delaying negotiations for two months.  Even if there was an emergency, CSU was not justified in adopting a policy that was broader than [AB 1434].  Moreover, there were readily available alternatives to unilateral action, namely bargaining with APC more frequently prior to implementation or accepting APC´s offer for temporary implementation while the parties discussed the more complicated issues.  Nothing in the record indicates either of these alternatives were unavailable to CSU.  Under these circumstances, the business necessity doctrined does not excuse CSU´s unilateral action. 

As a remedy, PERB ordered the CSU to "[r]escind the unilaterally adopted training provisions contained in Executive Order 1083" and to "negotiate the effects of CSU´s decision to assign child abuse/neglect reporting duties to APC´s unit members."  APC and CSU are scheduled to bargain about these issues on October 24 and 29, 2014.  As always, we will keep you posted.

Ironically, more than nine months after the CSU first imposed mandated reporter duties on Unit 4 employees, websites of the Chancellor´s Office and various campuses still provide forms on which employees are to acknowledge that they have received mandated reporter training, but there is no evidence on any of these websites that employees have actually received any training.

PLEASE NOTE THAT UNIT 4 EMPLOYEES CONTINUE TO BE DESIGNATED AS MANDATED REPORTERS AND ARE ADVISED TO FULFILL THE DUTIES THAT COME WITH THAT DESIGNATION.