Yesterday, in Robert M. Mallano v. John Chiang et al., the court certified a class of 1,600 active state court judges and 1,800 retired judges and pension beneficiaries. The judges claim that the state has unlawfully withheld wage increases, which in turn affect pension benefits. The fact that the state court judge who heard the case sided with the state court judges bringing the case shouldn’t come as a huge shock.
In fact, California state court judges are seriously underpaid and haven’t had a raise in over six years. You can’t pay judges less than many big-firm associates without it ultimately affecting the number of qualified candidates willing to assume that role.
Also, from an employer’s perspective, it’s OK if the idea of judges bringing a class action surprises you. The surprise you want to avoid is having your own employees bring one. In terms of expense, stress, and disruption to your business, having qualified counsel audit your HR and payroll practices costs a tiny fraction of having to defend one of these claims.