The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 17, 2012
From the notebook poll: Should state audits name bad-acting workers?

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Last week's state audit, a follow-up story and an editorial in The Bee prompted several calls and emails to The State Worker about the California Whistleblower Act and the anonymity given to state employees caught acting badly -- including those whose actions land them in jail.

The dozen opinions we fielded were evenly split between those who agreed with the blanket application of anonymity provisions in the law and those who thought employees convicted of crimes should be named.

If you've never read the law, Government Code Section 8547-8547.13, you can click here to view the fine details. The auditor references 8547.5 through 8547.7 as prohibiting the release of individuals' names, even those convicted of crimes.

Then weigh in on our poll:

CALIFORNIA CODES
GOVERNMENT CODE
SECTION 8547-8547.13

8547. This article shall be known and may be cited as the
"California Whistleblower Protection Act."

8547.1. The Legislature finds and declares that state employees
should be free to report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation
of law, or threat to public health without fear of retribution. The
Legislature further finds and declares that public servants best
serve the citizenry when they can be candid and honest without
reservation in conducting the people's business.

8547.2. For the purposes of this article, the following terms have
the following meanings:
(a) "Employee" means an individual appointed by the Governor, or
employed or holding office in a state agency as defined by Section
11000, including, for purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7,
inclusive, an employee of the California State University, or an
individual appointed by the Legislature to a state board or
commission and who is not a Member or employee of the Legislature. In
addition, "employee" means a person employed by the Supreme Court, a
court of appeal, a superior court, or the Administrative Office of
the Courts for the purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive,
and Section 8547.13, except for those provisions of Section 8547.4
concerning notice of adverse action and the State Personnel Board.
"Employee" includes a former employee who met the criteria of this
subdivision during his or her employment.
(b) "Illegal order" means a directive to violate or assist in
violating a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, or an
order to work or cause others to work in conditions outside of their
line of duty that would unreasonably threaten the health or safety of
employees or the public.
(c) "Improper governmental activity" means an activity by a state
agency or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the
employee's duties, undertaken inside a state office, or, if
undertaken outside a state office by the employee, directly relates
to state government, whether or not that activity is within the scope
of his or her employment, and that (1) is in violation of any state
or federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to,
corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property,
fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious
prosecution, misuse of government property, or willful omission to
perform duty, (2) is in violation of an Executive order of the
Governor, a California Rule of Court, or any policy or procedure
mandated by the State Administrative Manual or State Contracting
Manual, or (3) is economically wasteful, involves gross misconduct,
incompetency, or inefficiency. For purposes of Sections 8547.4,
8547.5, 8547.7, 8547.10, and 8547.11, "improper governmental activity"
includes any activity by the University of California or by an
employee, including an officer or faculty member, who otherwise meets
the criteria of this subdivision. For purposes of Sections 8547.4,
8547.5, and 8547.13, "improper governmental activity" includes any
activity by the Supreme Court, a court of appeal, a superior court,
or the Administrative Office of the Courts, or by an employee
thereof, who otherwise meets the criteria of this subdivision.
(d) "Person" means an individual, corporation, trust, association,
a state or local government, or an agency or instrumentality of any
of the foregoing.
(e) "Protected disclosure" means a good faith communication,
including a communication based on, or when carrying out, job duties,
that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information
that may evidence (1) an improper governmental activity, or (2) a
condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of
employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose
was made for the purpose of remedying that condition. Protected
disclosure specifically includes a good faith communication to the
Bureau of State Audits alleging an improper governmental activity and
any evidence delivered to the Bureau of State Audits in support of
the allegation. "Protected disclosure" also includes, but is not
limited to, a complaint made to the Commission on Judicial
Performance.
(f) "State agency" is defined by Section 11000. "State agency"
includes the University of California for purposes of Sections 8547.5
to 8547.7, inclusive, and the California State University for
purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive. Sections 8547.3 to
8547.7, inclusive, shall apply to the Supreme Court, the courts of
appeal, the superior courts, and the Administrative Office of the
Courts in the same manner as they apply to a state agency.

8547.3. (a) An employee may not directly or indirectly use or
attempt to use the official authority or influence of the employee
for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding,
or attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command any person
for the purpose of interfering with the rights conferred pursuant to
this article.
(b) For the purpose of subdivision (a), "use of official authority
or influence" includes promising to confer, or conferring, any
benefit; effecting, or threatening to effect, any reprisal; or
taking, or directing others to take, or recommending, processing, or
approving, any personnel action, including, but not limited to,
appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, performance evaluation,
suspension, or other disciplinary action.
(c) Any employee who violates subdivision (a) may be liable in an
action for civil damages brought against the employee by the offended
party.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize an
individual to disclose information otherwise prohibited by or under
law.


8547.4. The State Auditor shall administer this article and shall
investigate and report on improper governmental activities. If, after
investigating, the State Auditor finds that an employee may have
engaged or participated in improper governmental activities, the
State Auditor shall prepare an investigative report and send a copy
of the investigative report to the employee's appointing power.
Subject to the limitations of Section 8547.5, the State Auditor may
provide to the employee's appointing power any evidence gathered
during the investigation that, in the judgment of the State Auditor,
is necessary to support an adverse action or an action recommended
pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 8547.7. Within 60 days after
receiving a copy of the State Auditor's investigative report, the
appointing power shall either serve a notice of adverse action upon
the employee who is the subject of the investigative report or set
forth in writing its reasons for not taking adverse action. The
appointing power shall file a copy of the notice of adverse action
with the State Personnel Board in accordance with Section 19574, and
shall submit a copy to the State Auditor. If the appointing power
does not take adverse action within 60 days of receiving a copy of
the State Auditor's investigative report, it shall submit its written
reasons for not doing so to the State Auditor and the State
Personnel Board, and adverse action may be taken as provided in
Section 19583.5. Any employee who is served with a notice of adverse
action may appeal to the State Personnel Board in accordance with
Section 19575.

8547.5. (a) The State Auditor shall create the means for the
submission of allegations of improper governmental activity both by
transmission via mail or other carrier to a specified mailing address
and electronic submission through an Internet Web site portal. The
State Auditor may request that a person submitting an allegation
provide his or her name and contact information and provide the names
and contact information for any persons who could help to
substantiate the claim. However, the State Auditor shall not require
any person submitting an allegation to provide his or her name or
contact information and shall clearly state on the agency Internet
Web site that this information is not required in order to submit an
allegation.
(b) Upon receiving specific information that any employee or state
agency has engaged in an improper governmental activity, the State
Auditor may conduct an investigation of the matter. The identity of
the person providing the information that initiated the
investigation, or of any person providing information in confidence
to further an investigation, shall not be disclosed without the
express permission of the person providing the information except
that the State Auditor may make the disclosure to a law enforcement
agency that is conducting a criminal investigation.

8547.6. (a) The State Auditor may request the assistance of any
state department, agency, or employee in evaluating an allegation or
conducting any investigation of an improper governmental activity as
authorized by this article. In response to a request for assistance
from the State Auditor, that state department, agency, or employee
shall provide the assistance, including, but not limited to,
providing access to documents or other information in a timely
manner, as required by Section 8545.2. If an investigation conducted
by the State Auditor involves access to confidential academic peer
review records of University of California academic personnel, these
records shall be provided in a form consistent with university policy
effective on August 1, 1992. No information obtained from the State
Auditor by any department, agency, or employee as a result of the
State Auditor's request for assistance, nor any information obtained
thereafter as a result of further investigation, shall be divulged or
made known to any person without the prior approval of the State
Auditor.
(b) As an alternative to conducting its own investigation, if the
State Auditor determines that there is reasonable cause to believe
that a state agency or employee may have engaged in an improper
governmental activity, the State Auditor, subject to the limitations
of Section 8547.5, may refer the allegation to the involved state
agency, or to another state agency having direct oversight of the
involved state agency, to conduct an investigation of the allegation
under the State Auditor's supervision. If the State Auditor refers an
allegation to the involved state agency or to another state agency
having direct oversight of the involved state agency, that state
agency shall investigate the allegation and report the results of the
investigation to the State Auditor within 60 days of the referral
and monthly thereafter until final action has been taken. In
addition, whenever the State Auditor determines that there is
reasonable cause to believe that a state agency or employee may have
engaged in an improper governmental activity, the State Auditor,
subject to the limitations of Section 8547.5, may refer the
allegation to a criminal or administrative law enforcement agency in
lieu of conducting or supervising an investigation of the matter.

8547.7. (a) If, after investigating an allegation, the State
Auditor finds that a state agency or employee may have engaged or
participated in an improper governmental activity, he or she shall
prepare an investigative report and send a copy of that report to the
head of the agency involved and to the head of any other agency that
has direct oversight over that involved agency. The investigative
report may include the State Auditor's recommended actions to prevent
the continuation or recurrence of the activity. If appropriate, the
State Auditor shall report this information to the Attorney General,
the policy committees of the Senate and Assembly having jurisdiction
over the subject involved, and to any other authority that the State
Auditor determines appropriate. Subject to the limitations of Section
8547.5, the State Auditor may provide to the involved agency any
evidence gathered during the investigation that, in the judgment of
the State Auditor, is necessary to support any of the
recommendations. Within 60 days of receiving the State Auditor's
investigative report, the involved agency shall report to the State
Auditor any actions that it has taken or that it intends to take to
implement the recommendations. The agency shall file subsequent
reports on a monthly basis until final action has been taken.
(b) The State Auditor shall not have any enforcement power. In any
case in which the State Auditor finds that a state agency or
employee may have engaged in an improper governmental activity, the
State Auditor may provide the finding, and any evidence supporting
the finding, subject to the limitations of Section 8547.5, to a
criminal law enforcement agency, an administrative law enforcement
agency, or a licensing agency that has authority to investigate the
matter.
(c) The State Auditor shall keep confidential every investigation,
including, but not limited to, all investigative files and work
product, except that the State Auditor, whenever he or she determines
it necessary to serve the interests of the state, and subject to the
limitations of Section 8547.5, may issue a public report of an
investigation that has substantiated an improper governmental
activity, keeping confidential the identity of the employee or
employees involved. In addition, subject to the limitations of
Section 8547.5, the State Auditor may release any findings or
evidence supporting any findings resulting from an investigation
conducted pursuant to this article whenever the State Auditor
determines it necessary to serve the interests of the state.
(d) This section does not limit any authority conferred upon the
Attorney General or any other department or agency of government to
investigate any matter.

8547.8. (a) A state employee or applicant for state employment who
files a written complaint with his or her supervisor, manager, or the
appointing power alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal,
retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar improper acts prohibited
by Section 8547.3, may also file a copy of the written complaint with
the State Personnel Board, together with a sworn statement that the
contents of the written complaint are true, or are believed by the
affiant to be true, under penalty of perjury. The complaint filed
with the board, shall be filed within 12 months of the most recent
act of reprisal complained about.
(b) Any person who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal,
retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts against a state
employee or applicant for state employment for having made a
protected disclosure, is subject to a fine not to exceed ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment in the county jail for a period
not to exceed one year. Pursuant to Section 19683, any state civil
service employee who intentionally engages in that conduct shall be
disciplined by adverse action as provided by Section 19572.
(c) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, any person
who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar acts against a state employee or applicant for
state employment for having made a protected disclosure shall be
liable in an action for damages brought against him or her by the
injured party. Punitive damages may be awarded by the court where the
acts of the offending party are proven to be malicious. Where
liability has been established, the injured party shall also be
entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as provided by law. However,
any action for damages shall not be available to the injured party
unless the injured party has first filed a complaint with the State
Personnel Board pursuant to subdivision (a), and the board has
issued, or failed to issue, findings pursuant to Section 19683.
(d) This section is not intended to prevent an appointing power,
manager, or supervisor from taking, directing others to take,
recommending, or approving any personnel action or from taking or
failing to take a personnel action with respect to any state employee
or applicant for state employment if the appointing power, manager,
or supervisor reasonably believes any action or inaction is justified
on the basis of evidence separate and apart from the fact that the
person has made a protected disclosure as defined in subdivision (b)
of Section 8547.2.
(e) In any civil action or administrative proceeding, once it has
been demonstrated by a preponderance of evidence that an activity
protected by this article was a contributing factor in the alleged
retaliation against a former, current, or prospective employee, the
burden of proof shall be on the supervisor, manager, or appointing
power to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the
alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent
reasons even if the employee had not engaged in protected disclosures
or refused an illegal order. If the supervisor, manager, or
appointing power fails to meet this burden of proof in an adverse
action against the employee in any administrative review, challenge,
or adjudication in which retaliation has been demonstrated to be a
contributing factor, the employee shall have a complete affirmative
defense in the adverse action.
(f) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to diminish the
rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any other
federal or state law or under any employment contract or collective
bargaining agreement.

8547.9. Notwithstanding Section 19572, if the State Personnel Board
determines that there is a reasonable basis for an alleged
violation, or finds an actual violation of Section 8547.3 or 19683,
it shall transmit a copy of the investigative report to the State
Auditor. All working papers pertaining to the investigative report
shall be made available under subpoena in a civil action brought
under Section 19683.

8547.10. (a) A University of California employee, including an
officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment may file a
written complaint with his or her supervisor or manager, or with any
other university officer designated for that purpose by the regents,
alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar improper acts for having made a protected
disclosure, together with a sworn statement that the contents of the
written complaint are true, or are believed by the affiant to be
true, under penalty of perjury. The complaint shall be filed within
12 months of the most recent act of reprisal complained about.
(b) Any person who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal,
retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts against a University
of California employee, including an officer or faculty member, or
applicant for employment for having made a protected disclosure, is
subject to a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and
imprisonment in the county jail for up to a period of one year. Any
university employee, including an officer or faculty member, who
intentionally engages in that conduct shall also be subject to
discipline by the university.
(c) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, any person
who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar acts against a university employee, including
an officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment for having
made a protected disclosure shall be liable in an action for damages
brought against him or her by the injured party. Punitive damages may
be awarded by the court where the acts of the offending party are
proven to be malicious. Where liability has been established, the
injured party shall also be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as
provided by law. However, any action for damages shall not be
available to the injured party unless the injured party has first
filed a complaint with the university officer identified pursuant to
subdivision (a), and the university has failed to reach a decision
regarding that complaint within the time limits established for that
purpose by the regents. Nothing in this section is intended to
prohibit the injured party from seeking a remedy if the university
has not satisfactorily addressed the complaint within 18 months.
(d) This section is not intended to prevent a manager or
supervisor from taking, directing others to take, recommending, or
approving any personnel action or from taking or failing to take a
personnel action with respect to any university employee, including
an officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment if the
manager or supervisor reasonably believes any action or inaction is
justified on the basis of evidence separate and apart from the fact
that the person has made a protected disclosure.
(e) In any civil action or administrative proceeding, once it has
been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that an activity
protected by this article was a contributing factor in the alleged
retaliation against a former, current, or prospective employee, the
burden of proof shall be on the supervisor, manager, or appointing
power to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the
alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent
reasons even if the employee had not engaged in protected disclosures
or refused an illegal order. If the supervisor, manager, or
appointing power fails to meet this burden of proof in an adverse
action against the employee in any administrative review, challenge,
or adjudication in which retaliation has been demonstrated to be a
contributing factor, the employee shall have a complete affirmative
defense in the adverse action.
(f) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to diminish the
rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any other
federal or state law or under any employment contract or collective
bargaining agreement.

8547.11. (a) A University of California employee, including an
officer or faculty member, may not directly or indirectly use or
attempt to use the official authority or influence of the employee
for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding,
or attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command any person
for the purpose of interfering with the right of that person to
disclose to a University of California official, designated for that
purpose by the regents, or the State Auditor matters within the scope
of this article.
(b) For the purpose of subdivision (a), "use of official authority
or influence" includes promising to confer, or conferring, any
benefit; effecting, or threatening to effect, any reprisal; or taking
or directing others to take, or recommending, processing, or
approving, any personnel action, including, but not limited to,
appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, performance evaluation,
suspension, or other disciplinary action.
(c) Any employee who violates subdivision (a) may be liable in an
action for civil damages brought against the employee by the offended
party.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize an
individual to disclose information otherwise prohibited by or under
law.

8547.12. (a) A California State University employee, including an
officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment may file a
written complaint with his or her supervisor or manager, or with any
other university officer designated for that purpose by the trustees,
alleging actual or attempted acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar improper acts for having made a protected
disclosure, together with a sworn statement that the contents of the
written complaint are true, or are believed by the affiant to be
true, under penalty of perjury. The complaint shall be filed within
12 months of the most recent act of reprisal complained about.
(b) Any person who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal,
retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts against a California
State University employee, including an officer or faculty member, or
applicant for employment for having made a protected disclosure, is
subject to a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and
imprisonment in the county jail for up to a period of one year. Any
university employee, including an officer or faculty member, who
intentionally engages in that conduct shall also be subject to
discipline by the university.
(c) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, any person
who intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar acts against a university employee, including
an officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment for having
made a protected disclosure shall be liable in an action for damages
brought against him or her by the injured party. Punitive damages may
be awarded by the court where the acts of the offending party are
proven to be malicious. Where liability has been established, the
injured party shall also be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as
provided by law. However, any action for damages shall not be
available to the injured party unless the injured party has first
filed a complaint with the university officer identified pursuant to
subdivision (a), and the university has failed to reach a decision
regarding that complaint within the time limits established for that
purpose by the trustees. Nothing in this section is intended to
prohibit the injured party from seeking a remedy if the university
has not satisfactorily addressed the complaint within 18 months.
(d) This section is not intended to prevent a manager or
supervisor from taking, directing others to take, recommending, or
approving any personnel action, or from taking or failing to take a
personnel action with respect to any university employee, including
an officer or faculty member, or applicant for employment if the
manager or supervisor reasonably believes any action or inaction is
justified on the basis of evidence separate and apart from the fact
that the person has made a protected disclosure.
(e) In any civil action or administrative proceeding, once it has
been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that an activity
protected by this article was a contributing factor in the alleged
retaliation against a former, current, or prospective employee, the
burden of proof shall be on the supervisor, manager, or appointing
power to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the
alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent
reasons even if the employee had not engaged in protected disclosures
or refused an illegal order. If the supervisor, manager, or
appointing power fails to meet this burden of proof in an adverse
action against the employee in any administrative review, challenge,
or adjudication in which retaliation has been demonstrated to be a
contributing factor, the employee shall have a complete affirmative
defense in the adverse action.
(f) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to diminish the
rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any other
federal or state law or under any employment contract or collective
bargaining agreement.
(g) If the provisions of this section are in conflict with the
provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached pursuant to
Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 3560) of Division 4 of Title 1,
the memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further
legislative action.

8547.13. (a) As used in this section:
(1) "Agency" means the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal, the
superior courts, or the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(2) "Employee" means a person employed by the Supreme Court, a
court of appeal, a superior court, or the Administrative Office of
the Courts.
(b) An employee or applicant for employment who files a written
complaint with his or her supervisor, manager, or any other agency
officer designated for that purpose by the agency, alleging actual or
attempted acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or
similar improper acts prohibited by Section 8547.3, may also file a
copy of the written complaint with the State Personnel Board,
together with a sworn statement that the contents of the written
complaint are true, or are believed by the affiant to be true, under
penalty of perjury. The complaint shall be filed within 12 months of
the most recent act complained about.
(c) The State Personnel Board shall investigate any complaint
filed, in accordance with the procedures of this chapter, and make a
recommendation to the hiring entity of the agency of the employee or
applicant regarding whether retaliation resulted in an adverse action
regarding the employee and, if so, what steps should be taken to
remedy the situation.
(d) Except to the extent that justices and judges subject to the
jurisdiction of the Commission on Judicial Performance are immune
from liability under the doctrine of judicial immunity, a person who
intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar acts against an employee or applicant for
employment for having made a protected disclosure, is subject to a
fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and imprisonment in
a county jail for up to one year. An employee who intentionally
engages in that conduct also shall be subject to discipline by the
agency. This subdivision does not limit any other sanction that may
be applicable by law.
(e) In addition to all other penalties provided by law, except to
the extent that justices and judges subject to the jurisdiction of
the Commission on Judicial Performance are immune from liability
under the doctrine of judicial immunity, a person who intentionally
engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or
similar acts against an employee or applicant for employment for
having made a protected disclosure shall be liable in an action for
damages brought against him or her by the injured party. Punitive
damages may be awarded by the court if the acts of the offending
party are proven to be malicious. If liability is established, the
injured party also shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as
provided by law. It is not a prerequisite for an action for damages
for the injured party to first file a complaint pursuant to
subdivision (b).
(f) This section is not intended to prevent a manager or
supervisor from taking, directing others to take, recommending, or
approving any personnel action, or from taking or failing to take a
personnel action with respect to an employee or applicant for
employment, if the manager or supervisor reasonably believes any
action or inaction is justified on the basis of evidence separate and
apart from the fact that the person has made a protected disclosure.
(g) In a civil action or administrative proceeding, once it has
been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that an activity
protected by this article was a contributing factor in the alleged
retaliation against a former, current, or prospective employee, the
burden of proof shall be on the supervisor, manager, or appointing
power to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the
alleged action would have occurred for legitimate, independent
reasons even if the employee had not engaged in protected disclosures
or refused an illegal order. If the supervisor, manager, or
appointing power fails to meet this burden of proof against the
employee in an administrative review, challenge, or adjudication in
which retaliation has been demonstrated to be a contributing factor,
the employee shall have a complete affirmative defense on the issue
of retaliation.
(h) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to diminish the
rights, privileges, or remedies of an employee under any other
federal or state law or under any employment contract or collective
bargaining agreement.
(i) An employee shall not directly or indirectly use or attempt to
use the official authority or influence of the employee for the
purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, or
attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command a person for
the purpose of interfering with the right of that person to disclose
to an agency official, designated for that purpose by the agency, or
the State Auditor matters within the scope of this article. For the
purpose of this subdivision, "use of official authority or influence"
includes all of the following:
(1) Promising to confer, or conferring, any benefit.
(2) Effecting, or threatening to effect, any reprisal.
(3) Taking or directing others to take, or recommending,
processing, or approving, any personnel action, including, but not
limited to, appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, performance
evaluation, suspension, or other disciplinary action.
(j) Except to the extent that justices and judges subject to the
jurisdiction of the Commission on Judicial Performance are immune
from liability under the doctrine of judicial immunity, an employee
who violates subdivision (i) is subject to an action for civil
damages brought against the employee by the injured party.
(k) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize an
individual to disclose any information, the disclosure of which is
otherwise prohibited by law.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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