Removal from Specialty Pay Assignments

Many public safety employers have jobs that are “special assignments” and often require additional training or skills from the employee. 

 To “reward” these extra demands, they will generally also be accompanied by a pay incentive which is generally around 5%. Most employees feel that being assigned to such positions is a promotion given the additional pay and requirements upon them.  The question then becomes, what happens if you are removed from your specialty assignment?  It is not uncommon that if the relationship between the employee and their administration has gone sour that the employee then finds themselves being removed from the assignment, and losing the 5% in pay.   The administration will generally attempt to justify the transfer as being for “administrative need” when actually they are seeking to punish the employee indirectly.

If you were to find yourself in this scenario, you are not without recourse.  The court decision of White v. City of Sacramento established that a transfer resulting in a loss of pay is per-se disciplinary in nature triggering a right to administrative appeal under Government Code 3304.  Generally this means you are entitled to some form of an evidentiary appeal hearing before your administration.  Some departments have developed “White hearing” policies which dictate how the hearing will go and before whom it will be conducted.  However, many departments likely do not have an actual policy in place.  If you should find yourself in such a situation, you should consult with legal experts who specialize in such appeals and who can assert your right to a appeal on your behalf.   Your ultimate success is going to turn largely on if it can be established that the transfer were in fact disciplinary in nature versus if some other justifiable reason exists for moving you out of your specialty assignment.