What Is A Good Faith Personnel Action

A WCAB panel clarified that not all actions taken by an employee are considered “personnel actions” under LC3208.3(h) in Ferrell v. County of Riverside 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp PD Lexis.  The WCAB clarified the significant panel decision of Larch v. Contra Costa County (1998) 63 Cal. Comp. Cases 831 by stating that a personnel action is conduct by management including, but not limited to, transfers, demotions, layoffs and disciplinary actions directed to a subordinate.  The panel further stated that to hold otherwise would mean that almost all employment events could be considered “personnel actions” (Ferrell v. County of Riverside 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 322). In Ferrell, the defendant essentially argued that everything an employee does after the date of hire was essentially a personnel action.  However, the panel deemed the elimination of one department due to budget and staffing issues and the transfer of the applicant to a different department were not personnel actions and therefore LC3208.3(h) did not operate as a bar to the claim of an injury to the psyche.  General management decisions not specifically directed against the applicant’s employment status are not personnel actions per the WCAB.

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