In the November 2013 issue of Briefing Room, we reported on the case of Poole v. Orange County Authority in which the California Court of Appeal held that adverse comments placed in a fire captain's informal "daily logs" used to detail positive and negative performance of subordinate firefighters was subject to the requirements of Government Code sections 3255 and 3256 of the Fire Fighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act (FBOR).
On February 26, 2014 the California Supreme Court agreed to review the Court of Appeal decision in Poole v. Orange County Fire Authority (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 155. Given the nearly identical language in the Public Safety Officers Bill of Rights Act ("POBR") as in the Firefighters' Procedural Bill of Rights Act ("FBOR"), this case will affect law enforcement agencies as well as fire protection agencies. The Poole case cannot be relied upon as precedent as a result of the Supreme Court granting review.
If the Supreme Court reverses the Court of Appeal, it will call into question the notion that employees protected under FBOR and POBR have access to supervisor's files kept solely for recollection in the preparation of an annual evaluation. We will monitor this case and update you as it proceeds.
Poole v. Orange County Fire Authority (2014) 168 Cal.Rptr.3d 195.