AB 119: What Public Employers Need to Know about their Obligations to Give Unions Access to New Employees
Information, Access and Notice Requirements for Public Employers
Last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 119 into law, which requires public employers to provide union representatives access to new employees during their orientations. This bill defines employee orientation as the onboarding process, whether in person, online or through other means, during which new employees are advised of their employment status, rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities, or any other employment-related matters.
Further, public employers must now provide union representatives with not less than 10 days’ notice in advance of a new employee orientation, except that a shorter notice may be provided in a specific instance where there is an urgent need critical to the employer’s operations that was not reasonably foreseeable. Upon request of the employer or the exclusive representative, the parties are required to negotiate regarding the structure, time and manner of the access of the exclusive representative to a new employee orientation. The failure to reach agreement on the structure, time and manner of the access is subject to compulsory interest arbitration pursuant to the new law. The procedures for the compulsory interest arbitration are provided in the law, including the appointment process of the arbitrator and a cost sharing provision.
AB 119 also requires public employers to now provide the exclusive representative with the name, job title, department, work location, work and home address, personal cellular telephone number and personal email address on file with the employer of newly hired employees within 30 days of hire or by the first pay period of the month following hire. Additionally, public employers must provide this information to the exclusive representative for all employees in the bargaining unit at least once every 120 days, unless the parties can agree to different time frames.
While this new law mandates that new employee information be provided to the union, the Public Records Act already allows public agencies to withhold the home addresses, home phone numbers, personal cellular telephone numbers and birthdates of all employees of a public agency. This new law now adds employees’ personal email addresses to this list unless the employee uses their personal email address to conduct public business. If an employee does use their personal email address to conduct public business, then such information could be discoverable under a Public Records Act request. As evidenced by the California Supreme Court’s decision in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, if public agency employers have not done so already, it is important to develop policies and procedures pertaining to employees’ private devices and email addresses used for public business.
For information on how this decision may impact your organization and strategies to overcome its challenges, please contact the authors of this Legal Alert listed at the right in the firm’s Labor & Employment practice group, or your BB&K attorney.
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