The State of California has one of the largest and most complex bodies of government employing more than 235,000 employees across 231 different agencies serving more than 39 million Californians. It’s no wonder that issues surrounding State Employment are one of the most common arenas Goyette & Associates has worked with over the past 25+ years.
While many state employees are included in bargaining units of varying sizes, there are also thousands of employees that are considered “excluded” without the right to bargain. Our attorneys focus on representing not just associations but individuals in what can seem like an impossible task – taking on the State.
Our experience defending state employees spans a number of areas of law
Investigations & Due Process Hearings
As a state/public employee in California, you are vested with a number of representational and due process rights pertaining to your employment. One of the scariest employment related challenges that people contend with is a notification that they are under investigation. State law affords most employees the right to have a representative of their choice present during any questioning so long as that representative is not a subject or party to the investigation. In many cases, this may be a union representative, or the employee may at times elect to retain their own legal counsel. It is always a good idea to make certain to consult with an experienced representative before agreeing to submit to questioning. Having an experienced labor attorney with you for the duration of an investigation is invaluable. We can assist you with preparing for and anticipating questions, sit with you and object to improper questioning during the investigation and provide a buffer between you and often-times hostile investigators.
Due Process " Skelly " hearing
Discipline from your Hiring Authority can vary widely from a formal Letter of Reprimand (lowest severity) to termination (highest). However, before any discipline is imposed, the department must first serve you with a notice of Intent advising you (in advance) of the discipline they intend to take. You are then entitled by law to receive a copy of the investigation file and the right to a hearing in order to provide an informed response to the charges against you in the hope that you may yet change the hiring authority’s mind. These Skelly hearings can be quite effective in modifying, reducing or (in some cases) completely eliminating the discipline proposed. Having an experienced and passionate attorney in your corner can make all the difference. They can review the material, explain the legal and evidentiary implications, work with you to craft the appropriate response and then advocate for you at the hearing. Should the case not be resolved satisfactorily at the Skelly, all formal disciplinary actions can be appealed further to the State Personnel Board.
State Personnel Board Appeals
The State Personnel Board (SPB) is charged with overseeing the merit-based, job-related recruitment and selection process for the hiring of state employees. SPB also investigates alleged violations of civil service law which are filed by employees, applicants, and members of the public. Goyette & Associates attorneys have decades of experience representing state civil service employees in all manner of proceedings before the SPB. Navigating the appeals process can be confusing but we are here to help, from the earliest stages of filing the initial appeal to preparing for, and attending, a full administrative trial – we can successfully guide you to the end.
California Department of Human Resources
The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) was created on July 1, 2012, combining the Department of Personnel Administration with certain programs of the State Personnel Board. CalHR is responsible for issues related to employee salaries and benefits, job classifications, civil rights, training, exams, recruitment, and retention. For most employees, many of these matters are determined through the collective bargaining process managed by CalHR. In addition to the above, Cal HR also functions as an adjudicative body for those matters over which it is vested with hearing authority. These matters are handled by the CalHR’s Statutory Appeals Unit (SAU) which hears matters pertaining to both rank-and-file and excluded, supervisory employees in the State of California. The SAU handles a variety of unique matters not otherwise heard by the State Personnel Board (For a complete list click here) but some of the more common appeals are petitions to set aside a resignation, absent without leave (AWOL) separation, denials of out of class claims, involuntary transfers, layoff, performance evaluations and denial of sick leave.
We pride ourselves in high success rates when we champion the cause of the individual before such agencies as the State Personnel Board and the California Department of Human Resources as well as numerous other inter-departmental legal divisions, Equal Employment Opportunity investigations and internal human resources.
Goyette & Associate’s attorneys are skilled representatives with a vast breadth of experience to help you understand your rights and represent you through each stage of whatever process you may find yourself in.
By: Paul Goyette A recent string of California Superior Court and Court of Appeals Decisions indicate a clear trend to decline various employee and employer organization challenges to PEPRA. PEPRA is a form of pension reform law that was passed in 2012 and became effective January 1, 2013. PEPRA made several changes to the California public sector pension systems....
Attorney Brett Sherman of Goyette & Associates successfully represented a State of California Employee in the overturning of a voided appointment. Employee X* was promoted to a Staff Services Manager I (SSM) position within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2007. Employee X worked in that capacity until 2013, at which time Employee X...
by: Nicole Valentine It would be an understatement to say that 2017 was one of the most rewarding years in my practice as a criminal, labor, and licensing attorney. Below are some of the most notable results I achieved for my clients in each of these areas: One of the most important highlights of this year was when I won a client a full dismissal of all counts of an...
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