Due Process – Rights Before Discipline

You (persons represented by the SDHSA) are entitled to Due Process and certain other legal rights prior to your employer implementing discipline or dismissal procedures. The following is a short summary of those rights.


THE SKELLY RIGHT: In Skelly v. State Personnel Board (1975) 15 C.3d 194, the California Supreme Court ruled that UC employees are entitled to “pre-disciplinary hearings.” Employees must be given a written notice of the proposed disciplinary action, including a statement of the proposed discipline, the effective dates of the proposed discipline, the reasons for the discipline, the specific policy or rule violated, and statement advising the employee of their right to respond orally or in writing.

THE WEINGARTEN RIGHT: The Supreme Court ruled that employees are entitled to have a union representative present when supervisors ask for information that might be used as a basis for discipline. Management has no obligation to tell employees of this right, so employees MUST ask for union representation before the meeting. It is also recommended that the request be put in writing and that the employee keep a copy.


The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects a public employee’s right to a property and liberty interest in employment. Board of Regents v. Roth (1972) 408 U.S. 564, 576-577. The California Constitution provides similar protection. Cal. Const. art. I, § 7. Public employees are also protected from retaliation for the exercise of their constitutional rights. Bekiaris v. Board of Education (1972) 6 Cal. 3d 575, 585-586.


An employee who has a property and/or liberty interest in their job, may not be suspended, demoted, or discharged without “just cause.” Generally speaking, just cause requires the following:Rule or order reasonably related to the employer’s operation:

  1. Rule or order reasonably related to the employer’s operation;
    1. Adequate notice of the rule and consequences of violation;
    1. Sufficient investigation of the alleged wrongdoing;
    1. Fair and objective investigation;
    1. Adequate proof of the misconduct or performance problems;
    1. Equal treatment to employees in similar circumstances; and
    1. Appropriate discipline.

The place we must start is with the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and the HOPPD the (House Officer Policy and Procedure Document). UCSD has created the HOPPD which is applicable to all House Staff. The HOPPD attempts to outline sufficient Due Process Procedures to satisfy current law. Under the current HOPPD (last updated 2012).