F.A.Q

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we have encountered. Please click a question to jump to its corresponding answer. To return to this list, please click the “Return to Top” link positioned after every answer.

PERB AND ITS JURISDICTION

Q. What is PERB?
Q. Am I covered by PERB's jurisdiction?
Q. What public sector employees are covered by PERB administered statutes?
Q. Does PERB's jurisdiction extend to transit employees?
Q. Does PERB investigate allegations of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious discrimination?
Q. What types of allegations does PERB review?
Q. Should I contact PERB if I am having a problem with pay or overtime issues?
Q. Should I contact PERB if I need help with a pension or benefits problem?
Q. May I bypass PERB and allege a violation of PERB-administered statutes in state or federal court?

PERB AUTHORITY

Q. Does PERB enforce collective bargaining agreements?
Q. How does PERB remedy or correct violations of the statutes?
Q. Does PERB award attorney's fees?
Q. Does PERB enforce arbitration awards?

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN UNFAIR PRACTICE CASES

Q. What is the statute of limitations for PERB-administered statutes?
Q. When does the statute of limitations begin to run?
Q. How is the statute of limitations calculated in duty of fair representation cases?

FILING DOCUMENTS WITH PERB

Q. When is a document considered “filed” by PERB?
Q. May I file documents with PERB via facsimile?
Q. What is a "Proof of Service" and how do I complete the form?
Q. Can I submit documents to PERB via email?

FILING AN UNFAIR PRACTICE CHARGE

Q. Can an individual employee file an unfair practice charge alleging the employer violated provisions of the Act?
Q. May I file a charge against my supervisor?
Q. May I make an appointment with a PERB agent to assist me in completing my unfair practice charge form?
Q. What additional information should be attached to an unfair practice charge?
Q. Do I need an attorney to file an unfair practice charge?
Q. How many copies must I send to PERB when I file an unfair practice charge?
Q. May I bypass PERB and allege a violation of PERB-administered statutes in state or federal court?

INVESTIGATION AND ADJUDICATION OF AN ALLEGED UNFAIR PRACTICE

Q. What does the PERB unfair practice process entail?
Q. What is the "Notice of Appearance" form?
Q. How long does the processing of an unfair practice charge take?

THE UNFAIR PRACTICE HEARING

Q. What is the nature of a PERB hearing in an unfair practice charge?
Q. What are the duties of an administrative law judge?
Q. May a non-lawyer serve as an advocate at a PERB hearing?
Q. Do rules of evidence apply in PERB hearings?
Q. Are PERB hearings recorded?
Q. Who has the burden of proof in an unfair practice hearing?
Q. Does the administrative law judge render a decision immediately following the hearing?
Q. May a decision of an administrative law judge be appealed?

FILING AN APPEAL WITH THE BOARD ITSELF

Q. How do I get an extension of time to file before the Board itself?
Q. How do I file exceptions/responses to exceptions?
Q. How do I file an appeal of a dismissal or a response to an appeal of a dismissal?
Q. How do I file an administrative appeal/response to an administrative appeal?
Q. How do I file a request for reconsideration/response to request?
Q. How do I file a request for judicial review/response to request?
Q. May I file a response to a response?
Q. May I withdraw my Exceptions?
Q. May I withdraw my Charge?

PERB AND ITS JURISDICTION

Q. What is PERB?
A. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB or Board) is a quasi-judicial administrative agency. It is charged with administering the seven collective bargaining statutes covering California public employees. This includes people who work in public schools, colleges, and universities, employees of the State of California, employees of California local public agencies (cities, counties and special districts), trial court employees, trial court interpreters, and supervisory employees of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Back to Top

Q. Am I covered by PERB’s jurisdiction?
A. PERB’s jurisdiction is limited to certain public sector employees. Private sector employees, such as those employed by private hospitals, factories, or corporations, are governed by the National Labor Relations Act. Alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act must be filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency charged with enforcing private sector labor relations. [1-866-667-NLRB (1-866-667-6572) or http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/home/default.asp.] Back to Top

Q. What public sector employees are covered by PERB administered statutes?
A. PERB administers seven public sector labor relations acts, covering the following groups of employees: (1) any person (except management and confidential employees) employed by a public school employer, including community colleges (EERA); (2) any person (except management, supervisory and confidential employees) employed by the University of California, the Hastings College of the Law, or the California State University (HEERA); (3) any civil service employee of the State of California, and the teaching staff of schools under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Education (excluding management, supervisory and confidential employees) (Dills Act); (4) any person employed by any public agency, including employees of cities, counties, charter counties, districts and other political subdivisions (MMBA), (except police officers, management employees, and employees of the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles); (5) trial court employees paid from the trial court’s budget and subject to trial court supervision (Trial Court Act); (6) trial court interpreters who are employed by the court and are not independent contractors (Court Interpreter Act); and (7) supervisory employees employed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (TEERA). Back to Top

Q. Does PERB’s jurisdiction extend to transit employees?
A. Most California public transit districts are subject to the labor relations provisions that are found in the Public Utilities Code enabling statutes, in joint powers agreements, or in incorporation articles and bylaws. Such districts do not fall under PERB’s jurisdiction. However, a few transit districts are subject to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) and thus within PERB’s jurisdiction. Included among those covered by the MMBA are the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District Authority (SMART) and the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI). In addition, supervisory employees employed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are covered by a statute (Transit Employer-Employee Relations Act) that is under PERB’s jurisdiction. Back to Top

Q. Does PERB investigate allegations of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious discrimination?
A. No. PERB has no jurisdiction to enforce statutes regarding discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Allegations such as these are considered by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) [1-800-884-1684 or http://www.dfeh.ca.gov] and/or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [1-800-669-4000 or http://www.eeoc.gov]. Back to Top

Q. What types of allegations does PERB review?
A. The statutes enforced by PERB do not prohibit all acts of perceived unfairness or discrimination against covered employees; rather, PERB's jurisdiction is limited to resolving claims of unfair practices which violate the applicable Act. For example, PERB has jurisdiction to consider claims by an employee organization that the employer has failed and/or refused to bargain in good faith or has interfered with employee organization rights granted by the statute. Also, an individual employee may file an unfair practice charge alleging that the employer or the employee organization representing him or her has discriminated against the employee in reprisal for protected activity under the Act, or has interfered with rights guaranteed by the Act. An employer may also file a charge against a union, alleging, for example, that the union failed to bargain in good faith. Back to Top

Q. Should I contact PERB if I am having a problem with pay or overtime issues?
A. No. If you work for a private employer and are having problems with your employer regarding payment of wages, overtime issues, holiday pay or other pay issues, you should contact the Labor Commissioner in your area [http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/dlse.html]. If you work for a public employer, contact your exclusive bargaining representative (union) or personnel office for more information as appropriate. Back to Top

Q. Should I contact PERB if I need help with a pension or benefits problem?
A. No. Generally, public employees needing help with pension or benefits issues should contact the Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) at 1-888-225-7377 or http://www.calpers.ca.gov. Back to Top

Q. May I bypass PERB and allege a violation of PERB-administered statutes in state or federal court?
A. No. Each of the PERB-administered statutes expressly grant PERB exclusive initial jurisdiction over unfair practice charges and their remedies. As such, initial determination as to whether a charge is justified is a matter within PERB’s exclusive jurisdiction. Back to Top

PERB AUTHORITY

Q. Does PERB enforce collective bargaining agreements?
A. No. PERB-administered statues provide that the board shall not have authority to enforce agreements between the parties, and shall not issue a complaint on any charge based on alleged violation of such an agreement that would not also constitute an unfair practice under the applicable labor relations statute. Back to Top

Q. How does PERB remedy or correct violations of the statutes?
A. PERB possesses broad discretion to take action and issue orders as necessary to effectuate the purposes and policies of each of the statutes it administers. Such remedies may include orders for back pay and front pay, orders for reinstatement of employees terminated for union activity, removal of disciplinary materials from personnel files, cessation of dues deductions and disclosure of relevant information. Additionally, PERB is authorized to seek enforcement in a court of any of its subpoenas, rulings, orders or decisions. However, PERB possesses no specific statutory authority to grant punitive damages. Back to Top

Q. Does PERB award attorney’s fees?
A. PERB has the specific statutory authority to award attorney’s fees and costs. A claim for attorney’s fees will be denied if the issues are debatable and brought in good faith. Under this standard, PERB has authorized attorney fees and costs in very limited circumstances. Neither a Charging Party nor a Respondent should assume they will receive attorney fees and costs if its position prevails. Back to Top

Q. Does PERB enforce arbitration awards?
A. No. PERB does not have the authority to enforce arbitration awards. However, it may be an unfair practice for an employer to refuse to comply with an arbitration award. Under certain circumstances, PERB has discretionary jurisdiction to review a settlement or arbitration award solely for the purpose of determining whether it is repugnant to the purposes of the statute.
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STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN UNFAIR PRACTICE CASES

Q. What is the statute of limitations for PERB-administered statutes?
A. The statute of limitations under the EERA, Dills Act, HEERA, MMBA, TEERA, Trial Court Act and Court Interpreter Act is six months. Back to Top

Q. When does the statute of limitations begin to run?
A. In general, the limitations period begins to run once the charging party knows, or should have known, of the conduct underlying the charge. Back to Top

Q. How is the statute of limitations calculated in duty of fair representation cases?
A. In cases alleging a breach of the duty of fair representation by an employee organization, the statutory limitations period begins to run on the date when the charging party knew or should have known that further assistance from the union was unlikely. Back to Top

FILING DOCUMENTS WITH PERB

Q. When is a document considered “filed” by PERB?
A. All documents shall be considered “filed” when the original and the required number of copies, if any, are actually received by the appropriate PERB office before the close of business. (PERB Regulation 32135.) Back to Top

Q. May I file documents with PERB via facsimile?
A. Yes. All documents, except proof of support for representation matters, shall be considered “filed” when received by facsimile transmission at the appropriate PERB office before the close of business together with a Facsimile Transmission Cover Sheet. A party filing documents by facsimile must also place the original, together with the required proof of service and required number of copies, in the U.S. mail for delivery to the appropriate PERB office. (PERB Regulation 32090.) Back to Top

Q. What is a “Proof of Service” and how do I complete the form?
A. A “Proof of Service” is a document that demonstrates that the person signing the Proof of Service served the materials on all other parties. A Proof of Service, with an original signature, is required for all documents you submit to PERB. In the center of the Proof of Service document, you must print the names and addresses of the parties served. Failure to provide a Proof of Service may result in delays in the processing of your charge or petition, or dismissal of the matter. (PERB Regulations 32140 and 32142.)

Q. Can I submit documents to PERB via email?
A. Yes. Please note that, pursuant to PERB Regulation 32091(c), “attachments to an electronic filing shall be in PDF format and the total size of any e-mail message, including attachments, shall not exceed 3 MB, unless the files are compressed (in a zip file format).” Back to Top

FILING AN UNFAIR PRACTICE CHARGE

Q. Can an individual employee file an unfair practice charge alleging the employer violated provisions of the Act?
A. Yes. An employee can file a charge against either an employer or an employee organization alleging that the employee’s rights were violated. However, individual employees do not have standing to allege that an employer changed a policy in violation of a collective bargaining agreement, or that the employer failed to bargain with the union in good faith, or allege violations of statutory provisions which protect the collective bargaining rights of employee organizations. (PERB Regulation 32602.) Back to Top

Q. May I file a charge against my supervisor?
A. No. An unfair practice charge must name the employer (or employee organization) as the respondent. Charges may not be filed against an individual manager (or union representative), or a co-worker. (PERB Regulation 32602.) Back to Top

Q. May I make an appointment with a PERB agent to assist me in completing my unfair practice charge form?
A. No. PERB is a neutral state agency charged with investigating and enforcing public labor relations statutes. As such, PERB agents may not provide you with legal assistance or advice in completing your forms. However, if you have a general question regarding procedures or completion of the charge form, contact your local PERB office. Such assistance in most cases can be obtained over the telephone. Back to Top

Q. What additional information should be attached to an unfair practice charge?
A. Generally, it is best to provide PERB with all relevant information. For example, if you are complaining about a poor evaluation or reprimand, you should provide PERB with copies of these documents. Additionally, if your charge contains correspondence between the employer or employee organization, such correspondence should be included with the charge. All attachments must be served on the parties involved. (PERB Regulation 32615.) Back to Top

Q. Do I need an attorney to file an unfair practice charge?
A. Generally, most individual employees filing charges with PERB are not represented by an attorney during the initial stages of the process. While a Charging Party is free to seek legal representation, it is not required by PERB at any stage of the proceedings. Back to Top

Q. How many copies must I send to PERB when I file an unfair practice charge?
A. Any party filing an unfair practice charge or an amended charge must file the original and one (1) copy with the appropriate PERB office. (PERB Regulation 32605.) Back to Top

Q. May I bypass PERB and allege a violation of PERB-administered statutes in state or federal court?
A. No. Each of the PERB-administered statutes expressly grant PERB exclusive initial jurisdiction over unfair practice charges and their remedies. As such, initial determination as to whether a charge is justified is a matter within PERB’s exclusive jurisdiction.
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INVESTIGATION AND ADJUDICATION OF AN ALLEGED UNFAIR PRACTICE

Q. What does the PERB unfair practice process entail?
A. Upon the filing of an unfair practice charge, the charge is assigned to a Board Agent who will complete the initial review. The Charging Party and Respondent will be provided with the case number and name of the Board Agent by letter shortly after filing. The Respondent will be allowed time to respond to the allegations. This response must be sent to the Charging Party as well as to PERB. After receiving the Respondent’s response, the Board Agent will determine if the charge meets the minimum legal standard for a violation of the statute, that is, it states a prima facie case. If the charge fails to meet this standard, the Charging Party will be sent a “Warning Letter” and allowed time to correct the deficiencies in the charge. If the deficiencies are not corrected, the Board Agent will dismiss the charge. The Charging Party may appeal the dismissal to the Board itself.

If the charge states a prima facie case, the Board Agent will issue a “Complaint” and set the case for an informal settlement conference to be conducted by a different Board Agent who will mediate the dispute. If the parties fail to reach agreement during the settlement conference, the case will be set for formal hearing in front of a PERB administrative law judge. (PERB Regulations 32620 – 32690.) Back to Top

Q. What is the “Notice of Appearance” form?
A. The “Notice of Appearance” form, sent with your initial letter, allows you to designate someone else, such as an attorney or union representative, to represent you during the PERB proceedings. If you intend to represent yourself, you do not need to complete this form. However, if you wish to have another person represent you, you must complete this form and serve the form on PERB and the Respondent. It is important to remember that if you designate someone other than yourself as your representative, you will not receive copies of any correspondence from PERB or the Respondent. Both PERB and the Respondent will communicate only with your representative. Back to Top

Q. How long does the processing of an unfair practice charge take?
A. Each case is unique and therefore a specific time frame cannot be provided. Back to Top

THE UNFAIR PRACTICE HEARING

Q. What is the nature of a PERB hearing in an unfair practice charge?
A. Parties are entitled to a representative of their choice. Charging Party bears the burden of proving its case. Parties may call witnesses and introduce documentary evidence. Witnesses testify under oath and may be examined and cross-examined. At the end of the hearing, parties may present oral arguments on the record or through post-hearing briefs. An administrative law judge presides over the hearing. Back to Top

Q. What are the duties of an administrative law judge?
A. The administrative law judge is responsible for inquiring into all issues and obtaining a complete record upon which the decision is rendered. He or she, among other things, may regulate the course and conduct at the hearing; hold conferences to frame issues; rule on objections, motions and questions of procedure; take evidence and rule on the admissibility of evidence; examine witnesses for the purpose of clarifying facts and issues; authorize the submission of briefs; and render a decision. Powers and duties of an administrative law judge are set forth in PERB Regulation 32170. Back to Top

Q. May a non-lawyer serve as an advocate at a PERB hearing?
A. A non-lawyer may represent a party at a PERB hearing, and an individual party may represent himself or herself at hearing. However, parties are represented by counsel in most PERB hearings. Back to Top

Q. Do rules of evidence apply in PERB hearings?
A. PERB Regulation 32175 provides that compliance with rules of evidence used in the courts shall not be required in PERB hearings. In brief, that section provides that hearsay evidence is admissible, but it may not be sufficient by itself to support a finding unless it would be admissible over objection in a civil action. Immaterial, irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded. Statements made at a settlement conference are not admissible. The various rules of privilege apply. Back to Top

Q. Are PERB hearings recorded?
A. PERB hearings are recorded and transcripts are prepared. Parties may purchase a transcript after the hearing for use in preparing written briefs or appealing the decision of the administrative law judge. If a party cannot afford to purchase a transcript, he or she may review the transcript in the appropriate PERB office after making an appointment. Back to Top

Q. Who has the burden of proof in an unfair practice hearing?
A. The charging party must prove the allegations in the complaint by a preponderance of the evidence to prevail. Back to Top

Q. Does the administrative law judge render a decision immediately following the hearing?
A. Decisions typically are made after the administrative law judge reviews the entire record, including the transcripts of the hearing, exhibits and written briefs filed by the parties. Transcripts usually are available in two to three weeks after the hearing. Briefs usually are submitted in 30-45 days from the close of the hearing and the administrative law judge issues a decision in most cases in 50-75 days from receipt of the final brief. In exceptional cases, the procedure may take longer. Back to Top

Q. May a decision of an administrative law judge be appealed?
A. The decision of an administrative law judge is a proposed decision that may be appealed to the Board itself in Sacramento. (PERB Regulation 32300.) The Board will issue a decision that constitutes binding PERB precedent. (PERB Regulation 32320(c).) If the decision is not appealed, it will become final and binding only on the parties to the particular dispute. However, a decision that is not appealed does not constitute binding PERB precedent as to other parties. (PERB Regulation 32215.)
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FILING AN APPEAL WITH THE BOARD ITSELF

Q. How do I get an extension of time to file before the Board itself?
A. Extensions of time must be filed in writing at the headquarters office 3 days prior to the due date. The request must indicate the reason for the extension, the position of the other parties (if known), the amount of time needed and proof of service. If you contact the other party and it is in agreement then there generally is not any problem granting an extension. Otherwise, PERB must find good cause, based on your reason for the extension in your request. If a proof of service is not provided with the request, your extension will not be acted on until one is received. It is critical to include a proof of service with your request. (PERB Regulations 32132(a), 32130, 32135 and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. How do I file exceptions/responses to exceptions?
A. When filing exceptions/responses to a proposed decision, an original and 5 copies are required to be filed in the headquarters office. An original proof of service must accompany the original and a copy of the proof of service must accompany each copy. Exceptions/responses may be fax-filed with proof of service for filing as long as the original and required copies are put in the mail to PERB the same day as the fax filing. There is no required format form for exceptions/responses, however, they must comply with the regulations. (PERB Regulations 32300, 32305, 32310, 32315, 32130, 32135 and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. How do I file an appeal of a dismissal or a response to an appeal of a dismissal?
A. When filing an appeal of a dismissal, appeal of a partial dismissal or response to an appeal, an original and 5 copies must be filed in the PERB headquarters office. The original proof of service must accompany the appeal and any response and a copy of the proof of service must be attached to each copy. Appeals/responses may be fax-filed (with proof of service) as long as the original and required copies are mailed to PERB the same day as the fax filing. There is no required format for appeals/responses to appeals, however, they must comply with the regulations. (PERB Regulations 32635, 32130, 32135 and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. How do I file an administrative appeal/response to an administrative appeal?
A. When filing an administrative appeal before the Board itself, an original and 5 copies must be filed in the headquarters office. The original appeal/response must be accompanied with an original proof of service and each copy of the filing must be accompanied with a copy of the proof of service. Administrative appeals/responses may be fax-filed (with proof of service) as long as the original and copies are mailed to PERB the same day as the fax filing. There is no required format form for administrative appeals/responses, however, they must comply with the regulations. (PERB Regulations 32360, 32375, 32370, 32130 32135 and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. How do I file a request for reconsideration/response to request?
A. When filing a request for reconsideration with the Board itself, an original and 5 copies are required to be filed in the headquarters office. The original request/response must be accompanied with an original proof of service and each copy of the filing must be accompanied with a copy of the proof of service. A request for reconsideration/response may be fax-filed (with proof of service) as long as the original and copies are put in the mail to PERB the same day as the fax filing. There is no required format form for a request for reconsideration /response, however, they must comply with the regulations. (PERB Regulations 32400, 32410, 32130, 32135, and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. How do I file a request for judicial review/response to request?
A. When filing a request for judicial review before the Board itself, an original and 5 copies are required to be filed in the headquarters office. The original request/response must be accompanied by an original proof of service and each copy of the filing must be accompanied by a copy of the proof of service. A request for judicial review/response may be fax-filed (with proof of service) as long as the original and copies are put in the mail to PERB the same day as the fax filing. There is no required format form for a request for judicial review/response, however they must comply with the regulations. (PERB Regulations 32500, 32130, 32135, and 32140.) Back to Top

Q. May I file a response to a response?
A. This is not recommended, however, the regulations do not preclude it. If a response to a response is absolutely necessary, make sure a proof of service accompanies the document, otherwise, it will not be forwarded to the Board. The Board may accept this document at its discretion. Back to Top

Q. May I withdraw my Exceptions?
A. When a party requests its exceptions be withdrawn, the Board may approve the request. If the Board approves the withdrawal, the proposed decision becomes final. Withdrawals are filed with the headquarters office and must include a proof of service. Back to Top

Q. May I withdraw my Charge?
A. When a Charging Party requests that its unfair practice charge be withdrawn and the case is pending before the Board itself, the withdrawal must be approved by the Board for it to be effective. Withdrawals must be filed with the headquarters office and must include a proof of service. Back to Top