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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Orange: Sheriff May Prohibit Deputies Under Investigation From Accessing Their Investigative Files Until After Internal Affairs Interviews

A quick note on this case. 

In Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Orange (6/12/13) --- Cal.App.4th ---, the Court of Appeal held that the Orange County Sheriff could prohibit any deputy who was under investigation for misconduct from accessing his or her internal affairs investigative file before being interviewed by an internal affairs investigator. The Court explained: 
We hold the Sheriff's order delaying access to the internal affairs investigative files until after the investigative interview was within her legal authority and not subject to meet-and-confer requirements [of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA), Cal. Gov. Code, § 3500 et seq.]... We also address a question the California Supreme Court expressly did not reach in [Pasadena Police Officers Assn. v. City of Pasadena (1990) 51 Cal.3d 564], and hold a long-standing past practice of preinvestigative interview access to the investigative file, alone, does not constitute a working condition within the meaning of the MMBA.   
The trial court properly applied the test for determining whether an issue falls within the scope of representation under the MMBA as set forth by our Supreme Court.... For the reasons we will explain, the Sheriff's order did not significantly or adversely affect wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment within the meaning of the MMBA. Even if it did, the Sheriff's order fell outside the scope of representation because it was a fundamental managerial or policy decision that was not outweighed by the benefit to employer-employee relations that would result from bargaining about the decision. The Sheriff's order did not violate any express or implied term of the MOU. 

Slip op. at 2-3.  

The opinion is available here

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