Is a Requirement of Financial Disclosure by State Employees Legal ?
In Mazzie v. Commonwealth, 495 Pa. 128, 432 A.2d 985 (1981), the Commonwealth adopted a new Code of Conduct requiring certain state employees to make financial disclosures.
The affected employees contested enforcement of the Code of Conduct, alleging it violated the applicable collective bargaining agreements (CBA).
The union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), and the employees sought an injunction against the Commonwealth prohibiting it from enforcing the Code of Conduct.
In affirming our grant of a preliminary injunction, the Supreme Court stated:
While the Commonwealth Court refrained from ruling on petitioners' right to relief on the merits, it determined that petitioners have a clear procedural right to pursue their administrative remedies before being required to comply with the Code of Conduct's financial disclosure requirements and that, in the meantime, the grant of a prohibitory injunction that was a preliminary injunction (prohibitory preliminary injunction) was necessary to preserve petitioners' privacy right claim.
In our view the threshold issue of whether the Code of Conduct is a matter of inherent managerial policy or is a new term and condition of employment should be determined in the first instance by the PLRB and the arbitrator.
Pennsylvania labor policy not only prefers but requires the submission to arbitration of public employee grievances arising out of the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements.
We are, therefore, in accord with the Commonwealth Court's decision which permits petitioners to exhaust their administrative remedies without filing financial disclosure forms. Id. at 136-138, 432 A.2d at 989-90.