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AB 119 Union Access to Employee Orientation; Minor Revisions to Public Records Act

Client Alert

Assembly Bill (AB) 119 was signed by the Governor on June 27, 2017 as a budget bill and became effective July 1, 2017.  This client alert explains what has changed with respect to union issues in light of this bill, as well as minor revisions made to the Public Records Act.

New Obligations For Employers

  • The employer must provide the union access to new employee orientations.
  • The employer must notify the union at least 10 days prior to the orientation unless there is an urgent need that was not reasonably foreseeable.
  • The employer must negotiate with the union regarding the structure, time, and manner of the access to new employee orientations.
  • The employer must reopen the existing memorandum of understanding for the limited purpose of negotiating an agreement for new employee orientations or negotiate a side letter.
  • Within the earlier of 30 days after the date of hire or by the first pay period of the month following the hire of each newly hired employee, the employer must provide the union with the name, job title, department, work location, work, home, and personal cell phone numbers, personal email address on file with the employer, and home address of each newly hired employee.
  • The employer must provide the union with a list of the employee information described above for all employees in the bargaining unit at least every 120 days.

Please let us know if you want assistance in preparing the notices discussed and nature of the negotiations now required by AB 119.

Failure to Reach an Agreement on Time, Manner, and Structure

When negotiating access to a new employee orientation, if any dispute has not been resolved within 45 days after the first meeting of the parties, or within 60 days after the initial request to negotiate, whichever comes first, either party may make a demand for compulsory interest arbitration. The parties may mutually agree to submit their dispute to compulsory interest arbitration at any time. A party shall not submit any proposal to compulsory interest arbitration that was not the parties’ final proposal during the parties’ negotiations. The parties shall equally share all costs of arbitration. The City can object to the proposed arbitrator and pay the entire cost of a PERB Administrative Law Judge.

New Employee Orientation

“New employee orientation” means the onboarding process of a newly hired public employee, whether in person, online, or through other means or media, in which employees are advised of their employment status, rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities, or any other employment-related matters. “Newly hired employees” includes employees being hired to a permanent, temporary, full-time, part-time, or seasonal position. The City should discuss with the union any questions regarding what constitutes a “new employee orientation”.

No Right Under the Public Records Act to Inspect Employees’ Personal Email Addresses

AB 119 clarifies that employees’ personal email addresses on file are not public records and not open to public inspection, unless those email addresses are used to conduct public business or are necessary to identify a person in an otherwise disclosable communication.  Read in conjunction with the recent California Supreme Court decision City of San Jose v. Superior Court (2017) 2 Cal.5th 608, which allows the public the right to access the content of a personal account used to conduct public business, AB 119 highlights the importance of city officials and employees not to conduct public business via private accounts or devices.

For further information, please contact Colin Tanner or Michael Huston from Aleshire & Wynder, LLP’s Labor & Employment Practice Group at (949) 223-1170.

Disclaimer:  Aleshire & Wynder, LLP legal alerts are not intended as legal advice.  Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein.  Please seek legal advice before acting or relying upon any information in this communication.