California Supreme Court Upholds Furlough Order

For the last two years, KMTG Labor and Employment lawyers David W. Tyra, Kristianne T. SeargeantMeredith Packer, and Laura Izon Powell, with the support of the Labor & Employment department, have represented Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State of California in more than three dozen lawsuits filed by public employee unions challenging the Governor’s executive orders furloughing state employees.

On October 4, 2010, their efforts came to fruition when the California Supreme Court, in Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al., held the Governor’s furloughs of state employees were legal. The Court held that those furloughs had been validated by the State Legislature when it accepted the savings from furloughs in two separate state budgets. While the Court held that the Governor did not have the unilateral authority to order furloughs of state employees, the Court’s recognition that the Legislature had approved the Governor’s furlough program preserved the more than $2 billion in cash savings achieved by the State through furloughs.

This decision has significant implications for other public employers considering furloughs as a cost savings measure. For more information, feel free to contact KMTG Labor and Employment lawyer David W. Tyra | 916.321.4500

Additionally, please view our Legal Alert for a more detailed analysis of this case.