Labor and Employment Law

Workplace Conduct Unit-California State Senate and Assembly

October 18, 2018

Ramit Mizrahi
Chair, CLA Labor and Employment Law Section Executive Committee Mizrahi Law
201 S. Lake Ave., Suite 305
Pasadena, CA 91101

Re: Solicitation of Applicants for Legislature’s Workplace Conduct Panel Deadline for Applications: November 15, 2018

Dear Ms. Mizrahi:

On behalf of the Chief Justice of California, the State Senate, and the State Assembly, the California Legislative Counsel Bureau requests the assistance of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) in soliciting applications for a newly created expert panel that will be instrumental in the Legislature’s efforts to prevent and address harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate workplace conduct in the state Senate and Assembly. The Legislative Counsel Bureau would appreciate your forwarding this letter and attached “Guidelines for Selecting Panelists” to all attorney members of CLA’s Labor and Employment Law Section.

Briefly, the Legislature recently adopted a Policy on Appropriate Workplace Conduct in order to effectively address claims of harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate workplace conduct based on classifications that are protected by state or federal employment law. See https://www.assembly.ca.gov/jointrules. This policy establishes an independent Workplace Conduct Panel consisting of expert panelists who will review and evaluate the reports of an independent Workplace Conduct Unit responsible for investigating the claims. As part of their responsibilities, the panelists will engage in fact finding and recommend appropriate responses for consideration by the legislative house in which the claims arose.

The Legislative Counsel Bureau is seeking applications from attorneys who are interested in serving on the Workplace Conduct Panel. Applicants should have substantial experience in workplace conduct issues. Substantial adjudicative experience is also relevant. Please see the attached “Guidelines for Selecting Panelists” for additional information. The Chief Justice of California will appoint three panelists, and each legislative house will appoint one. It is anticipated the work of the panel will begin in February 2019.

Applicants are requested to submit (1) a letter of interest stating his or her qualifications for the position; (2) a resume; and (3) a statement of consent for the appointing authority or Executive Director of the Workplace Conduct Unit to obtain and review any prior discipline, including any private discipline, imposed on the applicant by the State Bar of California. Applications must be postmarked or received by November 15, 2018. Applications may be mailed to my attention at State Capitol, Room 3021, Sacramento, CA 95814, or emailed as a PDF to Diane.Boyer@legislativecounsel.ca.gov.

Very truly yours,
Diane F. Boyer-Vine
Legislative Counsel

Attachment

cc:

Heather Rosing, President, CLA Board of Representatives
Saul Bercovitch, CLA Director of Governmental Affairs
Diane Griffiths, General Counsel, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
Alf Brandt, Sr. Counsel, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
Carin Fujisaki, Principal Attorney to the Chief Justice of California


California Legislature Workplace Conduct Panel

Guidelines for Selecting Panelists

In June 2018, the California Legislature adopted a new Policy on Appropriate Workplace Conduct to address claims of harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate workplace conduct in the state Senate and Assembly. For claims involving a protected class[1] the Policy establishes an independent panel of experts to review and evaluate the independently conducted investigation reports of a newly created Workplace Conduct Unit. The panelists will make factual findings based on those reports and provide recommendations to the involved legislative house in light of those findings. The Legislature’s action adopting the Policy may be found here.

Attorneys appointed to the 5-member Workplace Conduct Panel will have substantial and diverse experience and expertise in workplace conduct issues. The Chief Justice of California will appoint three of the panelists, and each house will appoint one panelist. Three of the five panelists will be selected on a rotating basis to review cases. The appointing authorities seek attorneys to serve as panelists who have:

    1. At least 10 years cumulative legal experience in:
      1. Counseling, advising or representing clients on issues related to discrimination against protected classes under state or federal law, in the employment context or otherwise.


And/Or

      1. Adjudicating cases involving facts in dispute and making judgments about those facts and their consequences.
  1. Experience investigating or adjudicating workplace conduct or other internal organizational complaints, including complaints from whistleblowers, and making factual determinations based on the evidence collected.
  2. Experience working in both the private and public sectors, or representing clients in both sectors. Legislative employees serve in an at-will capacity, so experience in civil service cases is not directly relevant.
  3. No current representation of a client in a dispute related in any way to the Legislature.
  4. Active licensee status with the State Bar of California.

Additional experience that may be helpful to a panelist includes leadership experience in lawyer organizations or public advocacy organizations, and experience advising elected officials. These guidelines are intended to recognize that each panelist may have a mix of different experiences that together offer ample expertise for service on the panel, and that each 3-member panel as a whole will have decades of relevant experience to ensure the panel’s effectiveness.


1. For purposes of the policy, “protected class” means sex, gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, age (40 and over), physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, medical condition, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by state or federal employment law. 

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