DUPONT, C. J.
In this appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in affirming the decision of the state board of labor relations (board), which determined
The plaintiff's supervisor was Al Kirk, the tax assessor for the town. Also employed in the office was George Rich as assessment investigator I. The events leading up to the plaintiff's termination involved a one-half page memorandum which he sent to Kirk stating that the field inspections, for which the plaintiff and Rich were responsible, were running behind schedule as compared to prior years. The plaintiff stated that, in his opinion, the inspections were too numerous to be completed on time and, accordingly, he requested that Kirk seek additional help to alleviate the problem. This was during a period of time, however, when, due to recent changes in the local tax laws and internal office procedures, the total workload of the office was decreasing.
Kirk responded to the plaintiff by stating that he had surveyed other assessors as to the number of total inspections conducted by their offices under comparable circumstances. On the basis of this information, Kirk concluded that the number of inspections required from Rich and the plaintiff was reasonable and, as a result, that there should not be any difficulty in completing the required inspections on time. Kirk concluded by stating that if the plaintiff were unable to meet those requirements, Kirk would be forced to examine alternative options in order to meet his office's workload. The plaintiff did not respond to this memorandum.
After sending the memorandum to the plaintiff, Kirk contacted a private firm to discuss the possibility of the firm's taking over the services which were being performed by the plaintiff and Rich. On the basis of these discussions, Kirk determined that a change to a private
Subsequently, Kirk proposed reorganizing the tax assessor's office by eliminating the positions held by the plaintiff and Rich and substituting a private assessment firm, which would result in a savings of approximately $28,000 to the town.
The union's amended complaint filed with the board alleged that the plaintiff's written communication to Kirk resulted in the contracting of assessment work to a private firm and the termination of the plaintiff's employment in violation of General Statutes § 7-740 (a) (1) and (3). After a hearing, the board dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. In its decision, the board found that the union did not meet its burden of proving that the plaintiff's termination was in retaliation for engaging in protected activity. The board concluded
The plaintiff argues that, under General Statutes § 7-468,
The issue in this case is whether there was substantial evidence for the board to conclude reasonably that the plaintiff did not lose his employment with the town because of his exercise of a right granted by statute or by a collective bargaining agreement. The defendant argues that the plaintiff's memorandum was not a grievance and that the board correctly concluded that the plaintiff's termination resulted from a determination that the efficient running of the tax assessor's office at the most economical cost required the elimination of the position. The trial court, in stating that if the termination were due to the receipt of the writing, an unfair labor practice would have occurred, in effect, concluded that the letter was a grievance. It held, however, that the board had substantial evidence to conclude that the memorandum was not the cause of the termination. For the purposes of this opinion, we assume that the memorandum was a grievance.
The plaintiff relies on National Labor Relations Board v. City Disposal Systems, Inc., 465 U.S. 822, 104 S.Ct. 1505, 79 L. Ed. 2d 839 (1984), to support his position. That case, however, does not deal with whether substantial evidence existed to support the conclusion of a board. It held that an individual employee's assertion of a right granted under a collective bargaining agreement is recognizable as concerted activity, and that the assertion need not refer to the agreement, nor need it be a formal grievance. If we assume, as we do, that the plaintiff's memorandum to Kirk was the assertion of his right to engage in protected activity, the question then becomes whether there was substantial evidence for the board to conclude that the elimination of his job occurred because of the town's legitimate desire for efficiency rather than in retaliation for his exercise of a protected right.
A review of the evidence presented in this case indicates that the board's conclusion was supported by substantial evidence and that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that his discharge was in retaliation for engaging in protected activity. Here, the board was presented with evidence that the reorganization of the tax assessor's office was motivated by the town's legitimate business goal of completing the workload of the office in a timely fashion and at a lower cost. The plaintiff would have this court ignore the evidence concerning the failure by the plaintiff and Rich to perform the decreasing number of inspections in a timely fashion,
There is no error.
In this opinion the other judges concurred.