Legal News

 

RSA Wins The AVL Litigation!

On March 23, 2015, the Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) policy was unilaterally implemented by the Department over the objection of RSA. The AVL system makes use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to enable remote tracking of Department vehicles. The policy states in pertinent part that: “The Automated Vehicle Locator system provides and records specific information for AVL-equipped Department vehicles, including course, velocity, and current location.”

RSA asserted that Department was using the AVL system as a means of surveillance of its employees and that the Department intended to use the product of the surveillance in disciplinary proceedings. As such, RSA (through Attorney Chaikin) filed an unfair practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

At trial, the Department argued that PERB lacked jurisdiction. The Department also argued that it did not need to meet and confer over the effects of the AVL policy because they were not negotiable.

By way of decision dated August 24, 2017, PERB’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) agreed with RSA on all points and found that: 1. PERB had jurisdiction over the matter; and 2. The Department was required by law to meet and confer with RSA about the effects of the policy. As such, the ALJ concluded that the Department violated the law by unilaterally adopting the AVL policy without bargaining with RSA over the effects of the policy.

Among other things, the ALJ ordered that: “The County is directed to cease and desist from violating the duty to meet and confer in good faith. This includes ceasing use of AVL system data in personnel matters involving the LEU unit until it has satisfied its obligation to negotiate in good faith. The County is further ordered to bargain, upon timely demand from RSA, over the effects of implementing the AVL system.”

The Department has until September 13, 2017, to appeal. Otherwise, the decision becomes final.

This makes two wins in a row for RSA at PERB. By way of decision dated February 28, 2017, RSA won the Indio Jail Parking Fee matter (also handled by Attorney Chaikin), which was appealed by the Department.

Hopefully, these wins will motivate the Department and the Sheriff to comply with the law in the future.