On July 10, 2015, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District published a case explaining the proper way to calculate the ending of a probationary period. Although it would seem obvious, the California Department of Corrections argued otherwise. Joseph McCauley was promoted to Correctional Sergeant on December 2, 2008. On December 2, 2009, CDCR served a notice extending the probationary period so that it could timely reject McCauley from his promotional probationary Sergeant’s position. However, the applicable statutes and rules required extensions of probations to be served prior to the conclusion of probation.
CDCR argued that pursuant to the California Code of Civil Procedure and Government Code, one must exclude the first day (December 2, 2008) and start counting the year the following day, so that the last day of probation would be December 2, 2009. That way, its notice extending probation would be deemed timely. (CDCR did serve a Notice of Rejection on December 1, however the notice stated that it was deemed effective beyond the probationary period; thus CDCR had to extend the probationary period to make the rejection timely).
A judge of the Fresno Superior Court agreed with CDCR and set aside a State Personnel Board in McCauley’s favor. The Law Office of Michael A. Morguess appealed on behalf of McCauley. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that McCauley gets credit for his first day of probation and thus the last day of probation was December 1, 2009, so that when he woke up on December 2, 2009, he was already a permanent Correctional Sergeant and could not be rejected from probation.
Although this seems like an obvious result, no appellate decision had squarely addressed this issue. Thus the decision was published by the Court. It also reaffirms the requirement that civil service employees are entitled to strict compliance and dismissal statutes.
The case is California Department of Corrections v. State Personnel Board (McCauley).