California Labor and Employment Defense Blog

Trial Courts Have Discretion to Allow Disclosure of Employee Contact Information Without Prior Notice -- County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission, Service Employees Int'l Union Local 721

In County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission, Service Employees Int’l Union Local 721 the Second District Court of Appeal held that it was an abuse of discretion to allow a union to discover the names and addresses of non-union employees without "procedural safeguards" -- i.e., advance notice and an opportunity to object.  

This result turned mainly on the potential conflict of interest between a union and those employees who may object to union membership.  More interesting was the Court's analysis of the employment class action cases that have followed Pioneer Electronics by allowing discovery of employee contact information.  The Court seemed to interpret this line of cases as explicitly vesting trial courts with the discretion to allow discovery of contact information in such cases without prior notice.     

We recognize not all compelled disclosure warrants procedural safeguards. But these cases generally fall into two categories-non-party, percipient witnesses whose identity was previously disclosed and have no right to object to disclosure, and putative class members.  For these putative class members, there is an assumption that they want their information disclosed because the class action involves a vindication of their statutory rights.  [Internal citations omitted]

Many trial judges already routinely dispense with such pre-disclosure notices in employment cases and this decisions seems to explicitly approve of the practice. 

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