The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 22, 2013
Assembly bill tweaks state's five-day AWOL determination law

130522-Write-up.jpgThe Assembly has passed a bill that gives state employees more due-process protections if they are prematurely terminated for being off work without permission.

SEIU Local 1000 sponsored the measure by Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, which would allow an adjudicating law judge to consider whether a department properly fired an employee who for being AWOL.

Currently the law assumes AWOL firings are righteous. An adjudicating law judge can reinstate employees who satisfactorily explain their absence, why they failed to obtain leave and also can prove readiness, willingness and ability to return to work.

But a judge can't consider whether departments fire employees before they cross the AWOL threshold for dismissal: five consecutive days away from work. Brown's bill requires a department to reinstate employees who are fired prematurely. If they don't, employees could then make that argument for reinstatement and a judge would have the leeway to consider it.

AB 855 also says that employees can demonstrate fitness to resume duty with documented verification from a doctor or other licensed health care provider.

IMAGE CREDIT: / Getty Images

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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


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