The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), formerly called the Educational Employment Relations Board (EERB), handles most disputes alleging violations of the collective bargaining statutes covering California state and municipal government employees.
The easiest, most accessible source of PERB decisions is the PERB website:
PERB decisions are also available on Lexis and Nexis Uni:
The Westlaw-affiliated LRP publisher unofficially publishes PERB decisions in its Public Employee Reporter for California (PERC), available both on Westlaw and in print at the library:
According to the California Style Manual, PERB decisions should be cited in the format:
California State Employees Association (Carrillo) (1997) PERB Dec. No. 1199-S [21 PERC ¶ 28099, p. 330].
Redwoods Community College District (1996) PERB Dec. No. 1141 [20 PERC ¶ 27048].
Most sources of PERB decisions will provide the title for the decision at the top of the page. Usually, the title consists of the name of respondent (similar to the defendant), sometimes followed in parentheses by the name of the charging party (similar to the plaintiff). For example, in the first citation shown here, California State Employees Association is the respondent and Carrillo is the charging party.
Most sources of PERB decisions will provide both the decision number assigned by PERB and the location where the decision was published in PERC, both of which should be included in the citation. For example, in the first citation shown here, California State Employees Association (Carrillo) was assigned the decision number 1199-S by PERB and published in volume 21 of PERC beginning at paragraph (¶) number 28099. The specific pinpoint page being cited within PERC is page (p.) 330.
For additional details, see the relevant section of the California Style Manual and the box below on Reading PERB Decision Numbers:
PERB only hears disputes that involve both:
Additionally, PERB does not hear disputes involving a few specific types of California government employees:
By the time the California state legislature created PERB, both the City and County of Los Angeles had already created agencies for resolving disputes with their employees and the California legislature decided to allow these agencies to continue operating independently. See Cal. Gov't Code § 3509(d); City of L.A. v. City of L.A. Emp. Relations Bd., 7 Cal. App. 5th 150, 212 Cal. Rptr. 3d 416 (2016). Information on these agencies can be found on their websites:
For more information on PERB jurisdiction, please see the following resources:
The UCLA Law Library owns print copies of historical PERB decisions, which span two shelves and are organized by type of decision.
Decisions by Hearing Officers
A dispute involving a California government employee is first heard by an individual administrative law judge, referred to as a hearing officer.
Often, the preliminary issue is whether the employees are covered by the collective bargaining statutes at all and, if so, what bargaining unit represents them. Decisions by individual hearing officers in representation cases are designated by the abbreviation HO-R (e.g. Dec. No. HO-R-185-M).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most published HO-R decisions before 2013:
Once it's established that the employees are represented under a collective bargaining statute, the next issue is whether the employer or employees engaged in unfair labor practices. Decisions by individual hearing officers in unfair practice cases are designated by the abbreviation HO-U (e.g. Dec. No. HO-U-948-C).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most published HO-U decisions before 2013, plus a few decisions from 2014:
Decisions by the Board
Decisions of individual hearing officers may be appealed to the Public Employment Relations Board (referred to as the Board or the Board itself). The Board consists of five members appointed by the California governor and hears most cases in panels of three. Decisions by the Board on appeals from hearing officer decisions do not have a special abbreviation and are simply cited by their decision number (e.g. Dec. No. 1141).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most PERB decisions from 2014 and before:
Special Decisions: Administrative Determinations by Other PERB Employees
Sometimes, PERB employees other than hearing officers will make the initial decisions in disputes. For example, regional directors may decide disputes on topics such as improper campaigning during union elections, unit changes, and enforcement of prior decisions by hearing officers. Decisions by non-hearing officers are referred to as administrative determinations or informal determinations and designated by the abbreviation ID-R (e.g. Determination No. ID-R-4).
PERB has released a small handful of informal determinations, available at the UCLA Law Library in print:
Just like decisions by hearing officers, decisions by non-hearing officers may be appealed to the Board. Board decisions on appeals from administrative determinations by non-hearing officers are referred to as administrative appeal orders and designated by the abbreviation Ad (e.g. Order No. Ad-417-E).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most administrative appeal orders before 2013, plus a few orders from 2014:
Special Decisions: Requests for Access to the Courts
California's collective bargaining statutes give PERB near exclusive jurisdiction over covered disputes.
Parties cannot seek injunctions from the courts- instead, the parties must ask PERB to seek injunctions on their behalf. Decisions by the Board on requests for injunctions are referred to as injunctive relief orders and designed by the abbreviation IR (e.g. Order No. IR-58).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most published injunctive relief orders from before 2014:
Additionally, parties cannot appeal most Board decisions to the courts without the Board's consent. Decisions by the Board on requests for judicial review are referred to as judicial review orders and designed by the abbreviation JR (e.g. Order No. JR-23-H).
The UCLA Law Library has print copies of most published judicial review orders from 2007 and before:
You do not need to know how to read PERB decision numbers in order to locate and cite PERB decisions. However, if you do learn to read PERB decision numbers, you can see at a glance which PERB body made the decision, the type of decision, and what statute was involved.
As explained in the box above on Types of PERB Decisions and PERB Decisions in Print, letters at the beginning of the decision number indicate the PERB body that made the decision and the type of decision. If there is no letter before the decision number, then it is a decision on the merits of the claim by the Board itself. If there is a letter before the decision number, then it is an administrative or procedural order by the Board or was made by the courts or by lower level employees within PERB. Specifically:
The letter at the end of the decision number indicates which statute PERB interpreted:
So, for example:
For more information on types of PERB decisions, see the relevant pages of the PERB website:
About Indexes to PERB Decisions
Generally, most PERB decisions can be located through keyword searching of PERB decisions on the PERB website, Lexis, Nexis Uni, and Westlaw. However, as a supplement, you can also use indexes to PERB decisions.
In particular, both PERB and the Westlaw-affiliated LRP publisher have developed their own numbered topical indexes to PERB decisions. For example, for the PERB decision Redwoods Community College District (1996) PERB Dec. No. 1141 [20 PERC ¶ 27048]:
You can use the PERB and LRP topic numbers to locate other decisions on the same topic.
Using LRP Indexes to PERB Decisions
The best way to access the LRP topic index is by running a keyword search of PERB decisions on Westlaw. A list of LRP topics and associated topic numbers is shown at the beginning of each decision. Click any topic number (e.g. 72.75) to access other PERB decisions on the same topic.
LRP also assigns topic numbers to public employee decisions from Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If you would like to find similar decisions from these states, browse on Westlaw to the Administrative Decisions & Guidance categories for each state and then search for the topic number (e.g. 72.75).
The print PERC reporter (available at Law Library Stacks KFC561 .A556) also includes the LRP numbered topic index, as well as a topic index organized by keyword and indexes to decisions by name and decision number. However, the print indexes are inefficient to use because most indexes are found at the end of each volume and cover only that volume. To find all PERB decisions on a topic using the print LRP indexes, you may need to repeatedly flip through the indexes in dozens of volumes. Accordingly, the better bet is to access the LRP index on Westlaw (if you have access to it) or to use the official PERB indexes available for free on the PERB website.
Using the Official PERB Indexes
The homepage of the PERB Decision Search Engine links to several types of indexes.
To look up decisions by topic, use the numbered topic index:
PERB also provides an index to decisions by name and decision number:
When you look up a decision by name or decision number, PERB provides a link to the full text of the decision and a list of numbered topics assigned to the decision. Unfortunately, you cannot click the topic numbers to access other PERB decisions on the same topic, as you can on Westlaw. Instead, return to the PERB Browse by Topic Index and manually browse to the topic number.
Finally, the PERB website provides the Rep Index. The Rep Index provides a topic index organized by keyword and, more significantly, allows you to look up decisions on the representation status of employees in specific jobs, such as bus driver or summer school teacher. The Rep Index is available here:
Finally, the UCLA Law Library owns print copies of the Rep Index and of the index by name and decision number (available in two blue binders at Law Library Stacks KFC561.A557 C34). However, the representation index was last updated on 3/10/01 and the index by name and decision number was last updated on 7/21/03. Accordingly, PERB's online indexes are the better bet.