Website California Academy of Sciences

About the Opportunity:
The Director of Employee and Labor Relations plays a critical role in ensuring a positive and productive work environment and plans, organizes, evaluates, and directs all aspects of employee and labor relations within the Academy. This leadership position promotes harmonious relationships between employees, management, and the labor union while ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations.

Organizational Culture:
Join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Islands 2030 – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The mission of the California Academy of Sciences is to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration.

The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every qualification for the position.

This position is based in San Francisco, California. This exempt, full-time position reports to the Chief People & Culture Officer and indirectly reports to the General Counsel with respect to work encompassing the practice of law. Staff are currently expected to work from the Academy offices at least 2 days per week, which may fluctuate based on business needs. Please do not apply if you are not able to work onsite.

About the People & Culture Team (PACT):
The People & Culture team collaborates across the Academy to build a thriving culture in which all staff members feel cared for and respected, with opportunities for growth, and deeply connect employees to the Academy’s purpose of regenerating the natural world.

Key Responsibilities:

Labor Relations:

  • Act as the primary point of contact during labor disputes and contract negotiations.
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with labor union representatives. Consult with exclusive bargaining representatives on contractual matters.
  • Negotiate collective bargaining agreements, ensuring that they align with the organization’s goals and budgetary constraints.
  • Ensures the proper and effective administration of collective bargaining contracts; provides guidance to leadership, supervisors, and others in the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements; and develops and conducts in-service training as needed.
  • Writes formalized agreements reached with bargaining units.
  • Advises Academy leadership on critical problems, achievements, improvement recommendations, and on requirements and restrictions of laws, rules, and policies affecting assigned areas.
  • Develop education and conduct training on proactive employee and labor relations, identifying and addressing organizational vulnerabilities
  • Serve as an internal consultant/point person to address labor relations issues that arise
  • Support development and maintenance of Academy labor relations strategy, philosophy, and training
  • Ensure that employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities under collective bargaining agreements
  • Analyzes state legislative and administrative decisions, laws, regulations, and policies to determine their impact on employer-employee relations functions and makes recommendations on how to implement new requirements.

Employee Relations/Policies:

  • Provides technical advice and guidance to supervisors on employee performance improvement plans, grievance and conflict resolution, mediation, and disciplinary processes.
  • Counsel business partners on proactive measures to ensure the maintenance of a positive employee relations environment and compliance with applicable labor and employment regulations
  • Investigate and resolve complex employee complaints and disputes fairly and on time and recommend appropriate resolution strategies.
  • Provide timely notification and work closely with union representatives to resolve employee relations issues in a fair and consistent manner
  • Collect, analyze, and report on data related to employee and labor relations
  • Prepare reports for senior management and other stakeholders on labor relations matters.
  • Maintain accurate and confidential records related to labor relations and employee grievances.
  • Develop, revise, and implement people policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local labor laws and regulations.
  • Stay up-to-date with labor laws and regulations changes, and make necessary updates to the organization’s policies and practices.
  • Oversee the updates and revisions for the employee handbook for both union and non union staff
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge base of labor law, National Labor Relations Board case law, and ongoing union activity
  • Travel to off-site meetings

Experience and/or Education:

  • Juris Doctor strongly preferred with an active license to practice law in the State of California or eligibility to obtain Registered In-House Counsel
  • Undergrad or an advanced degree required, preferably with a major in labor or industrial relations, human resource management, public administration, industrial or organizational psychology, or a related field.
  • 7+ years of proven experience and track record in Employee Relations, Human Resources, or Labor Relations; strong expertise in CA labor law
  • Professional HR certification (e.g., SPHR, SHRM-SCP) is a plus.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities.
  • Excellent relationship building skills and the ability to effectively communicate with all levels of the organization (both verbally and in writing) and representatives of other agencies and organizations
  • Exercise sound judgment and maintain poise in stressful and/or sensitive situations
  • Anticipate conditions, plan ahead, establish priorities, and meet schedules
  • Maintain a fair and impartial attitude
  • Effectively present and argue management’s position in negotiations and arbitration
  • Develop and execute policies, rules, regulations, and procedures
  • Interpret, apply, and explain principles and legal provisions pertinent to an employee and labor relations program
  • Develop and support a culture of collaboration that values employees and a commitment to the Academy’s mission

This job description may change as our team continues to grow and evolve – we hope you’ll be excited to evolve with us as we scale and increase our impact.

Physical Environment:
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. Ability to perform repetitive motions 80% of the time.

The Academy complies with federal and state disability laws and makes reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact our People & Culture team at [email protected].

Compensation and Benefits:
Starting salary will vary based on experience and relevant skills/knowledge set. The Academy offers a total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits based on the hours per week worked.

Review of applications will begin on September 18, 2023 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis and continue until the position is filled.

How to Apply:
Interested candidates should submit a resume and optional cover letter through the Careers Page portal.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The Academy is committed to creating a diverse team and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We know that representation matters in the workplace and with our partners; to that end we are committed to a hiring process grounded in equity and inclusion. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, citizenship or immigration status, national origin, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, political ideology, the presence of any physical, mental, or sensory disability, age, or any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Read our full Equal Opportunity Statement here.

Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

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