City of Santa Ana v. Santa Ana Police Benevolent Association et al.

207 Cal. App. 3d 1568, 255 Cal. Rptr. 688 (1989)

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City of Santa Ana v. Santa Ana Police Benevolent Association et al.

California Court of Appeal
207 Cal. App. 3d 1568, 255 Cal. Rptr. 688 (1989)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

The City of Santa Ana (plaintiff) and the Santa Ana Police Benevolent Association (PBA) (defendant) were negotiating a new memorandum of understanding when police officers staged a sickout. Sixteen of the 18 officers who usually worked the graveyard shift called in sick. Twenty-four evening-shift officers had to stay on duty and work several hours of overtime. Later the same day, 41 evening-shift officers called in sick. The next day, 83 day-shift officers called in sick, such that the entire graveyard-shift workforce had to remain on duty to continue normal police operations. Although the city kept all police functions adequately staffed by other officers working overtime or extra shifts, the city sued and obtained a temporary restraining order that kept PBA members from striking or calling in sick when not actually ill. The PBA complied with the order, and no further work slowdowns occurred. Later that month, the court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the officers from striking or feigning illness. The PBA appealed, arguing it was improper under state law for a court to enjoin a public safety organization from calling a sickout that was organized in a manner calculated to avoid any imminent threat to public health or safety, particularly when the sickout was only short term. The city insisted the officers could not work as effectively when they had to work overtime or double shifts. Although the parties later agreed on a new memorandum of understanding, the appellate court accepted review, noting the issues were of continuing public interest and likely to recur.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sills, J.)

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