CCSA Answers: Brown Act Closed Session Exception

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June 26, 2015

Question: Can a contractor's evaluation be covered under a Brown Act closed session exception? The contractor is not an employee.

Answer: A contractor's evaluation would not ordinarily be covered by the Brown Act exception for a closed session discussion. Only employees can be evaluated in closed session. The term "employee," however, could include independent contractors who function as officers or employees of the organization. If the board so desired, it could do the personnel evaluation in closed session if the contractor functions as an employee. Before proceeding, the board should check its HR policies and the contract it has with the contractor to see if any commitments were made to act in a particular way. All facts and circumstances should be evaluated and caution exercised, particularly if there is any risk of revealing private information. Charter schools are encouraged to seek their attorney for advice that is specific to their situation.