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September 17, 2018
Public Employees and Government Code Section 21198
June 28, 2019
The Court of Appeal (Fourth District) has held that where an employee has been involuntarily terminated and subsequently reinstated pursuant to an administrative or judicial proceeding, Government Code § 21198 prevents the California Public Employees' Retirement System from reinstating the employee to a different classification that has no connection to the underlying dispute. (See, Byrd v. State Personnel Board - June 26, 2019, Fourth District, Div. One Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3078.)
The Court of Appeal noted that in the typical case, section 21198 directs CalPERS to reinstate an employee who was involuntarily terminated but then returned to that same classification as a result of an administrative or judicial proceeding. The reinstatement thus allows CalPERS to effectuate the purpose of this specific provision and recreate the status quo ante. There may, however, be atypical circumstances in which an individual can be properly reinstated (following involuntary termination and pursuant to an administrative or judicial proceeding) to a different classification. But if there are those instances, the statute requires a nexus between the new classification and the underlying dispute. And, if there is no such nexus, section 21198 prevents CalPERS's from reinstating the employee into such a position, even if the parties agreed as such.