Ruling Clears Way For State Layoffs

Jun 25, 2013

Tennessee State Employees Association Executive Director Robert O'Connell

Close to 200 state employees are facing the end of their jobs after a circuit court judge ruled the Haslam administration did not violate state law in ordering layoffs. The ruling is a blow to the workers who were fighting the decision in court.

In her decision Monday, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McLendon said little evidence could be found to support TSEA's claim that the layoffs violated state law. The suit said the state had an obligation to help the affected workers find new jobs, and complained that the process was hampered when a jobs website was taken down. State officials said the website was disabled so it could be updated to include new pay data.

Despite the ruling, Tennessee State Employees Association Executive Director Robert O’Connell says there is a small silver lining. Legal proceedings did forestall the layoffs by a week.

"We were disappointed that the judge made that ruling, but were were glad at least that the temporary restraining order had been granted," O'Connell said.

It's unlikely TSEA's lawsuit can proceed. O’Connell says those facing layoffs will have a guaranteed opportunity, up to a year, to interview for certain open state positions.