California Public Employee Relations...since 1969
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley

California's number one resource for employer/employee relations

Support CPER

Quick Links to Order

Join the Mailing List

Get updates on the law and info on new pocket guide releases!

Pocket Guide to Dismissal Procedures Affecting Permanent, Certificated Employees

By Dale Brodsky

$27 each

Order Online
Mail-In Order Form PDF

For the education community....As of January 1, 2015, new statutory authority governs dismissals and suspensions of permanent certificated employees.  The new law, AB 215, achieves the most significant overhaul of the dismissal statutes since 1983.

This guide focuses on the resulting changes, although it covers, albeit briefly, the full reach of the dismissal process, including unchanged portions.

Changes include: 

  • new hearing protocols
  • new timelines for filing charges and bringing cases to hearing
  • simplification of notice requirements
  • streamlined procedures
  • new standards and the right to waive concerning a Commission on Professional Competence.


I. New Statutory Authority 1
II. Dismissal and Suspension, Generally 3
   A. Statutes Preempt Collective Bargaining Agreement 3
   B. Automatic Dismissal Permitted in Limited Circumstances 3
   C. Just Cause for Dismissal Under Sec. 44932 4
III. Ground for Dismissal Enumerated in Section 44932(a) 7
   A. Generally 7
   B. Eleven Enumerated Grounds for Dismissal Under Sec. 44932 7
   C. Added Responsibilities in Cases of Egregious Misconduct 8
IV. Procedures for All Charges Other Than Soley Egregious Misconduct 9
   A. Statement of Charges 9
   B. Notice of Intent to Dismiss 9
      1. Generally 9
      2. Notice of Intent to Dismiss sufficient to initiate hearing. 9
      3.Time limits. 10
      4. Service requirements. 10
   C. Prior Written Notice Required Only in Cases of Unprofessional Conduct and Unsatisfactory Performance 10
   D. Employee’s Demand for a Hearing 11
   E. Immediate Suspension 12
      1. Immediate suspension permitted. 12
      2. Employee’s right to appeal suspension 12
   F. Leave of Absence When Criminal Charges Are Pending 13
      1. Mandatory leave offenses. 13
      2. Optional leaves offenses. 14
   G. Discovery 14
      1. Initial disclosures. 15
            Timing and effect of non-compliance 15
            Content 15
      2. Supplemental disclosures required. 15
      3. Additional prehearing disclosures required. 16
      4. Disclosure of experts. 16
      5. Depositions. 16
      6. Review of discovery issues. 17
   H. Conduct of the Hearing 17
      1. Timing of the hearing. 17
      2. Choice of adjudicators. 18
            Waiver of CPC permitted. 18
            Commission on Professional Competence 18
      3. Prehearing and settlement conference. 19
      4. Location of the hearing. 20
      5. Decisionmaking. 20
            Hearing conducted by a single ALJ 20
            Hearing conducted by a CPC 20
      6. Determinations and consequences. 20
      7. Costs of the hearing. 21
      8. Evidence. 22
            Testimony or evidence concerning students 22
            The four-year rule: 4944(b)(2) (B)1 22
V. Procedure for Charges Based Soley on Egregious Misconduct 23
   A. Generally 23
   B. Statement of Charges 23
   C. Notice of Intention to Dismiss 23
      1. Generally 23
      2. No time limits. 23
   D. Employee’s Demand for a Hearing 23
   E. Accusation and Notice of Defense Required to Initiate the Hearing Process 24
   F. Immediate Suspension 24
   G. Leave of Absence When Criminal Charges Are Pending 24
   H. Discovery 25
   I. Conduct of the Hearing 25
      1. Timing of the hearing. 25
      2. ALJ hears case alone. 26
      3. Prehearing and settlement conferences. 26
      4. Location. 26
      5. Determinations and consequences. 26
      6. Costs of the hearing. 27
      7. Evidence. 27
            Effect of suspension. 27
            Four-year rule: 44944(d)(3). 28
            Testimony or evidence concerning students. 28
VI. Judicial Review 29
   A. Review by Administrative Mandamus 29
   B. Standard of Judicial Review 29