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Disciplinary Process

Every allegationof employee misconduct within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall be promptly reported, objectively reviewed, and investigated when appropriate.” (emphasis added) (DOM Section 31140.1)

It only takes a single allegation of misconduct for the Office of Internal Affairs to open an investigation on you. The allegation can come from an inmate or parolee, or an upset supervisor, or even a co-worker who mistakenly thought they heard or saw something.

Almost every discipline case includes allegations that an employee was negligent in their duties and did not follow departmental policies and procedures. Misconduct does not have to be an intentionally bad act. Many times, it’s just an honest mistake. And given the difficulties of the job, mistakes can happen. But mistakes can lead to discipline and that’s why you need to be represented.

The Office of Internal Affairs opens approximately 2,700 cases every year for either an internal affairs investigation or direct disciplinary action by the hiring authority. That’s more than 220 cases every single month.

When the Office of Internal Affairs completes their investigation, a report is provided to the hiring authority and, after consultation with a department attorney and a BIR attorney on monitored cases, a decision is made whether to sustain the allegations and, if so, what the penalty should be.

If discipline is imposed, the employee has a constitutional right to a Skelly hearing to present his or her side of the story and ask the hiring authority to reconsider the findings or the punishment.

If the Skelly hearing does not resolve the case, an employee has a constitutional right to appeal their discipline to the California State Personnel Board. An administrative law judge will preside over the hearing and make a recommendation to the Board based on evidence presented at the hearing.

At every stage of the disciplinary process – from the initial evaluation by the Central Intake Unit, throughout the internal affairs investigation, and all the way through the SPB appeal – CDCR has the option of having dozens of licensed attorneys actively involved in the preparation and prosecution of your disciplinary case!

With so much on the line, don’t try to walk down this terrible path alone. You need a skilled and experienced attorney to be there at every critical juncture of your case to make sure that your rights are protected.

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