Renne Public Law Group (RPLG) Partner Jon Holtzman and Associate Ian Long presented a session at the County Counsels’ Association of California (CCAC) Spring Employment Law Conference on the topic of vested rights. The conference took place February 28 through March 1 in Sacramento.

Taking place only days before the Cal Fire case from the California Supreme Court was expected, the panel featured questions asked by Justices during the oral argument on Cal Fire, along with an analysis of how those questions related to the issues before the Court. Days after the presentation, when the Cal Fire decision was issued, many of those predictions we borne out.  

Jon Holtzman noted: “I grew up as a public lawyer going to this conference.  It has always been one of the most thoughtful and informed groups of public employment and labor lawyers in the state.  Unlike many other speaking opportunities, the group is highly interactive. Speaking at the conference can best be described as an exchange of views and experiences.”

“Knowing that the Cal Fire case was coming soon, our hope was to give participants a framework within which to understand this complex issue and understand the Supreme Court’s ultimate direction.  We continue to believe that, even though the Cal Fire case did not address all of the burning issues that surround vesting issues under California law, the case provides significant guidance, and a path forward for public agencies to understand and estimate risk when contemplating changes to retirement related benefits.”

The panel also took a look at the potential impacts for the recent Janus decision. Prior to Janus, many state laws permitted unions to collect “agency” fees from non-members. Now that agency fees are impermissible, will bargaining be affected?  Jon and Ian discussed the concern that organizing activity and labor strife with unions representing miscellaneous employees and teachers will increase as a result of the decision.

The CCAC event provided an opportunity for county lawyers to learn from and with each other on relevant legal issues. RPLG will continue to closely follow these cases and report on key updates. To view RPLG’s presentation, click/tap here.

RPLG practices throughout California, advising and advocating for public agencies, nonprofit entities, individuals and private entities in need of effective, responsive and creative legal solutions.