AB 1435: The State Department of State Hospitals: investigations

Sponsored by AFSCME, AB 1435 would provide the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) employees and contractors that are subject to investigations with three procedural protections.  First, it would require DSH to disclose the purpose of the investigation prior to the investigative interview taking place.  Second, it would require that an employee be informed beforehand that any information obtained during an interview can be used in criminal or administrative actions. Lastly, it would encourage DSH to consult with a group of peers from the person being investigated and allow the peer group to assist in evaluating the allegations. 

This procedural protection is congruous with fair notions of due process.  It also provides a level of efficiency to the investigatory process that is missing and is greatly needed. Staff at DSH facilities are often the subject of frivolous complaints.  Because staff that are being investigated are put on administrative leave, this causes high overtime numbers by level-of-care staff. With extraordinarily high numbers of frivolous complaints, AB 1435 will help reduce overtime by staff and create an investigatory process that is both fair and efficient. 

After passing the California Assembly with a unanimous 78-0 vote, the bill was held in the Senate Health Committee. It is now a two-year bill and can be acted upon in January of 2020.