On Sept. 27, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 270, which becomes effective on July 1, 2022. SB 270 modifies California Government Code Section 3558, by placing significant penalties on public agencies, including school districts and county offices of education, that violate the requirement to provide employee contact information to exclusive representatives.
Government Code Section 3558 — even before the adoption of SB 270 — requires public employers to provide exclusive representatives with the name, job title, department, work location, work, home and personal cell phone numbers, personal email address and home address of any newly hired employee within 30 days of the date of hire, or by the first pay period of the month following the hire. Additionally, Section 3558 requires public employers to provide the same employee information for all employees within the bargaining unit at least every 120 days.
SB 270 does not amend the requirements of Section 3558, but instead, imposes strict enforcement parameters that permit an exclusive representative to file charges with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) alleging a public employer’s violation of Section 3558. The bill also creates monetary penalties if a public employer is found to have violated Section 3558, with fines up to $10,000, as determined by PERB. The fine imposed shall be determined by PERB through an evaluation of the employer’s annual budget, the severity of the violation, and any prior history of violations by the employer.
In certain circumstances, the public employer may be given an opportunity to cure the alleged violation within 20 calendar days. However, the opportunity to cure an alleged violation is limited to only those instances when an employer fails to provide an accurate or complete list of employees to the exclusive representative. The ability to cure an alleged violation is not available when a public employer fails to provide the contact information of a newly hired employee pursuant to Section 3558, or if the employer fails to provide a list of employees generally.
The ability to cure violations is further limited by SB 270 as it prohibits public employers from curing violations more than three times within any 12-month period. This limitation applies regardless of whether the violation was intentional. With the potential for severe penalties, districts must be vigilant about providing the appropriate information to exclusive representatives in a timely manner. Additionally, SB 270 requires PERB to award attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party from the inception of the proceedings.
CSBA members that subscribe to District and County Office of Education Legal Services program can contact CSBA attorneys for legal advice about how SB 270 affects them directly, assistance with making sure the required information is communicated to exclusive representatives, and representation when responding to alleged violations. For more information about CSBA’s District and County Office of Education Legal Services program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.