Paratransit, Inc. v. CUIAB, 206 Cal. App. 4th 1319 (2012)

Craig Medeiros was terminated by his employer Paratransit for refusing to sign a disciplinary memorandum that was issued in connection with a prior incident of misconduct involving a customer. Medeiros (who was a member of a union) refused to sign the disciplinary memo without a union representative being present (which he had requested and was denied) even though the signature line indicated only “Employee signature as to Receipt.” The employer’s representative informed Medeiros that the collective bargaining agreement required him to sign the disciplinary memo and that if he failed to sign, it would be treated as insubordination and his employment would be terminated. Medeiros refused to sign the memo, and Paratransit terminated his employment. Paratransit subsequently opposed Medeiros’s application for unemployment benefits, and the administrative law judge concluded Medeiros’s “deliberate disobedience of a reasonable and lawful directive of the employer, to sign the memorandum notifying him of disciplinary action, where obedience was not impossible or unlawful and did not impose new or additional burdens upon him, constituted misconduct.” Although the CUIAB reversed the ALJ, the trial court granted the employer’s petition for writ of administrative mandamus, concluding “this was misconduct rather than a good faith error in judgment.” The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment.