Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Court Awards Millions in Back Pay for Furloughs

In Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. et al., Case No. R610-494800, the Alameda County Superior Court awarded back pay to state workers unlawfully furloughed in 2009 and 2010.  The Court's June 7, 2012 ruling found that employees whose positions were not funded by the state budget act could not be furloughed by the act.

The Court's ruling also focused on the "single subject rule", part of the California Constitution that prohibits budget bills from changing substantive law in other areas.  As a result, the Court concluded the furloughs were unlawful for some state workers whose responsibilities were protected by specific sections of the Water and Health & Safety Codes.

Finally, the Court discussed a requirement in the budget act that furloughs to line staff be proportional to furloughs for managers.  The Court decided the requirement means that the state went too far when in furloughed line staff more than managers, entitling workers to back pay to make up the difference.  The parties expect the the ruling to cost the state millions of dollars in back pay.