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Friday, May 31, 2013

County of LA v. LA County Employee Relations Commission: County Must Disclose Employee Contact Information to Union that Represents Them

The Supreme Court of California has issued its decision in County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission (5/30/13) --- Cal.4th ---, which involves "the balance between an employee's right of informational privacy and a union's right to obtain information it needs to represent the employee in collective bargaining." The Court held as follows: 

The Service Employees International Union, Local 721 (SEIU) is the exclusive bargaining representative of all Los Angeles County (County) employees. The question here is whether SEIU is entitled to obtain the home addresses and phone numbers of all represented employees, including those who have not joined the union. We agree with both courts below that it is so entitled but reverse the Court of Appeal's imposition of procedural requirements limiting disclosure.  
State and federal labor decisions have long held that unions are presumptively entitled to contact information for all employees they represent. These decisions, and applicable labor laws, generally obligate the County to give SEIU the requested information. Whether the right to privacy under article I, section 1 of the California Constitution prohibits disclosure is a question of first impression. We conclude that, although the County's employees have a cognizable privacy interest in their home addresses and telephone numbers, the balance of interests strongly favors disclosure of this information to the union that represents them. Procedures may be developed for employees who object to this disclosure. However, the Court of Appeal exceeded its authority in this administrative mandate proceeding by attempting to impose specific procedures on the parties. 
Slip op. at 1-2.  

The opinion is available here.

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