Christman, Kelley & Clarke Wins Reinstatement for County of Santa Barbara Employee
Christman, Kelley & Clarke attorney Matthew Clarke convinced the Santa Barbara County Civil Service Commission that the County of Santa Barbara wrongfully terminated a high level county employee and that reinstatement was legally required under the Civil Service Rules. Civil Service employees who work for the County of Santa Barbara enjoy extra legal protections. The Civil Service Commission is the body that hears complaints about violations of these Civil Service Rules. The Civil Service Rules are found HERE. For example, the Civil Service Rules have a Statute of Limitations for disciplinary actions as follows:
Rule 1214. Statute of Limitations.
No disciplinary action shall be valid against any County employee for any cause for discipline based on any provision of the initiative ordinance or Civil Service Rule, unless the Notice of Disciplinary Action is served within one (1) year after the cause for discipline, upon which said Notice is based, first arose. Disciplinary action based on fraud, embezzlement, or the falsification of records shall be valid, if the Notice of such is served within three (3) years after the discovery of such fraud, embezzlement, or falsification.
That means if the County waits longer than one year to discipline a Civil Service employee, the employee can argue that it’s legally too late.
In this particular case, the Santa Barbara Civil Service Commission held a full evidentiary hearing with numerous witnesses and documents. Once the hearing concluded, the Civil Service Commission deliberated for less than one hour. The Commissioners unanimously ordered reinstatement the firm’s client with back pay. The Civil Service Commission also ordered that the employee was to be “made whole” by the County. CKC’s motion for attorney fees in now pending in the Santa Barbara Superior Court.
Christman, Kelley & Clarke will also consider a wrongful termination lawsuit against the County of Santa Barbara arising out of this termination.