SB 270 Advances to Assembly; Provides for Fee Award to PERB

SB 270 was introduced by Senator Durazo on January 28, 2021. As I previously wrote, SB 270 allows a union to file a special unfair practice charge when an employer provides inaccurate employee contact information. The bill provides that if PERB finds a violation, it “shall” impose a penalty on the employer not to exceed $10,000. SB 270 also provides for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs to the prevailing party if the case goes to a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

SB 270 was amended on April 15, 2021, to provide that: “If the board initiates proceedings with a superior court to enforce or achieve compliance with a board order, or is required to defend a decision of the board involving this section after a party seeks judicial review, the court shall award the board attorney’s fees and costs if the board is the prevailing party.”

Comments

  1. I have great concerns about PERB being able to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs when it prevails in the courts of appeal. PERB is a state-funded administrative agency whose job is to administer public sector labor laws. In my opinion PERB should not be afraid to defend its decisions in the courts, it is part of the agency’s job. I don’t know why this amendment was proposed, but it appears designed to reduce the number of PERB decisions being challenged in the courts, primarily by employers. While I understand PERB is spending a lot of resources to defend its decisions in the courts of appeal, I don’t think this solution is good public policy.
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