The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 25, 2010
Judge issues tentative ruling on minimum wage issues

Judge Patrick Marlette has published his tentative ruling on several legal criticisms of the Department of Personnel Administration's pay letter that ordered state worker pay withheld to the federal minimums allowed until lawmakers craft a budget.

It's a complicated document that assumes an understanding of the issues raised by State Controller John Chiang and the rebuttals offered by DPA. To sum up, DPA wins some arguments and some issues were left open to more litigation, which keeps alive some of Chiang's objections to the order.

Example: Chiang said that state workers' pay should be withheld at the California minimum wage rate instead of the federal minimum ordered by DPA. Marlette sided with DPA.

Example: Chiang contended that executing the minimum wage order would lead to Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Marlette left that question open to more litigation.

The two sides will meet in court Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to argue points and set deadlines for filing more papers. Marlette could also also set a hearing date to debate whether Chiang's office has the capacity to execute the minimum wage order. None of the items addressed in Marlette's tentative ruling today will keep the court from considering that issue.

Want to get deeply into today's ruling? Here's how:

Click here to open Chiang's cross-complaint.
Click here to open DPA's rebuttal.
Click here to open Marlette's tentative ruling. You'll need to cross reference the first two documents to understand the judge's decisions.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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