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California Supreme Court Orders Disclosure by Public Agencies of Employee Home Addresses and Telephone Numbers to Representative Labor Unions

County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Employee Relations Commission; Service Employees International Union, Local 721, Real Party in Interest, Supreme Court No. S191944 (May 30, 2013)

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Corrigan, the California Supreme Court ruled that Los Angeles County must disclose home phone numbers, and home addresses, of employees who are not union members.  The Court rejected the court of appeal’s imposition of an opt out procedure designed to give non-members an avenue to object and elect not to have their personal information disclosed.

SEIU was recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of a bargaining unit of employees.  The issue concerned whether the County was obligated to turn over personal information – i.e., home addresses and telephone numbers – of non-members.   Non-members are employees who are employed in a job class represented by the union, but who have elected not to join the union.  The union still owes a duty of fair representation to non-members.

The Supreme Court balanced privacy interests, and concluded that the union’s interest in representing employees in their bargaining unit outweighed the non-member’s privacy interest.