Under State Board of Chiropractic Examiners v. Superior Court, 45 Cal. 4th 963 (2009), "the State Personnel Board’s decision does not have preclusive effect under theories of res judicata and collateral estoppel and thus does not prevent Wabakken from litigating his whistleblower retaliation damages claim in the district court."
The California Supreme Court held that § 8547.8(c) “means what it says: An employee complaining of whistleblower retaliation may bring an action for damages in superior court, but only after the employee files a complaint with the State Personnel Board and the board ‘has issued, or failed to issue, findings.’” Id.(quoting § 8547.8(c)) (emphasis omitted). Thus, once the State Personnel Board has issued findings, or failed to do so, “the employee may proceed with a damages action in superior court regardless of whether the [State Personnel Board’s] findings are favorable or unfavorable to the employee.”The opinion is available here.