Since 1975, I have successfully represented employees in cases before government agencies. Please click on the links to below for more information. I invite you to contact me and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting me does not create any relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to me until such time as an representative-client relationship has been established.
Skelly hearings hearings are very similar to standard court proceedings. Rules of evidence and civil procedures apply. The California statutory scheme regulating civil service employment confers upon an individual who achieves the status of ‘permanent employee’ a property interest in the continuation of his employment which is protected by due process. In Board of Regents v. Roth, the United States Supreme Court “made clear that the property interest protected by procedural due process extend well beyond actual ownership of real estate, chattels, or money…The Fourteenth Amendment’s procedural protection of property is a safeguard of the security of interests that a person has already acquired in specific benefits. These interests – property interests – may take many forms.” The Roth court continues, “to have a property interest in a benefit, a person clearly must have more than abstract need or desire for it. He must have more than a unilateral expectation of it. He must, instead, have a legitimate claim of entitlement to it. It is a purpose of the ancient institution of property to protect these claims upon which people rely in their daily lives, reliance that must not be arbitrarily undermined.” [Emphasis added.] The matter as to "property Rights was then addressed in the case of Skelly v. State Department of Health Care Services. The California State Supreme Court ruled that Skelly had a property right to his job and could not be deprived of it without due process. Ultimately, this “Skelly” right now applies to all California public sector employees when they may lose property rights (i.e., wages).
At a minimum, the pre-removal safeguards must include 1. Notice of the proposed action 2. The reasons therefor 3. A copy of the charges and materials upon which the action is based 4. The right to respond, either orally or in writing to the authority initially imposing discipline.There is no requirement to provide an employee with a full trial-type evidentiary hearing prior to the initial taking of punitive action.
1. The notice of proposed action What you intend or propose to do to the employee.
2. The reasons therefor What is the reason for the proposed discipline? What policies, procedures, laws, etc. has the employee failed to follow?
3. A copy of the charges and materials upon which the action is based Must be given at the time the notice of adverse action is served. What are the supporting documents? All backup material, including but not limited to department policies/procedures, witness statements, photographs, investigatory report and findings You must include everything, even if you believe the employee already has the document.
4. The right to respond, either orally or in writing to the authority initially imposing discipline There is no requirement that the employee attend the meeting; he/she can respond in writing to the charge(s). This right to respond must occur PRIOR to final disciplinary action.
In Williams v. County of Los Angeles (1978) 22 Cal.3d 731, 737, the California Supreme Court held that an employee has the right to respond “before a reasonably impartial noninvolved reviewer.” In subsequent cases, the State Personnel Board further clarified that this impartial person is “one who has not been directly involved with the investigation of the matters which led to the taking of the adverse action.” In addition, in Coleman v. Regents of the University of California, the court found that an employee has the right to present his/her side of the controversy before a reasonably impartial and non-involved reviewer “who possesses authority to recommend a final disposition of the matter.” In a case involving Kimberly S. Arnold, the State Personnel Board found that the person signing the notice of adverse action cannot act as the impartial Skelly hearing officer.
I charge a retainer of after the initial consultation. The retainer includes; subject matter precedents research, drafting the initial response, inclusion of points and authorities, filing the response with the proper jurisdiction, and representing you at the hearing.