Discipline and Due Process

Know Your Rights

Discipline and Due Process

Classified employees have the right to due process, including the right to receive written notice of charges, the right to be represented & the right to informal and formal responses. Also, some contracts include binding arbitration for discipline.

Employee entitled to due process
Permanent classified employees have a "property interest" in their jobs, which requires the district to comply with "due process" elements before imposing discipline. These basic rights include: notice of the charges, a right to respond orally and/or in writing and the right to representation.

Employer must provide written notice
Classified employees have the right to be notified in writing of the charges against them. The document must set forth the "cause" for which the action is taken, and "...in ordinary and concise language, the specific acts and omissions upon which the disciplinary action is based..." Education Code Section 45116 (88016)

Charge must be filed within two years
Classified employees cannot be subject to acts that occurred while the employee was on probation or that are over two (2) years old. This standard automatically exists in non-merit districts but can be negotiated in merit system districts. Education Code Section 45113 (88013)

Employee's right to respond in "Skelly" conference
In a merit system school district, the governing board and its management agents impose discipline and must afford employees what is commonly referred to as a "Skelly" conference. Here the employee has the right to respond orally and/or in writing to the charges. The district's "Skelly" hearing officer is supposed to be an "objective official" from the district. An employee has the right then to appeal any imposed discipline to the personnel commission (or its hearing officer), whose findings are binding upon the employee and the District.

The role of the governing board
In non-merit districts, the governing board's management agents propose the disciplinary action, providing the employee with written charges and five (5) days to request a hearing. The Governing Board may hear the case or the parties may delegate the hearing to a hearing officer or arbitrator but "... the governing board's determination of the sufficiency of cause for disciplinary action shall be conclusive," unless there is binding arbitration in your contract.

Employee has right to representation
Classified employees have a right to be represented at all investigative meetings that could reasonably lead to discipline and any meeting to challenge the discipline. California Government Code section 3543.1(a)

Has the district violated your rights?
If you feel the district has violated your rights, contact a union steward, chapter officer, or CSEA staff professional from your local field office, to assist you in the enforcement of your rights. You may be able to file a grievance or pursue civil action.