Pre-Layoff Hearings Cost

It is one thing for the State to provide a predeprivation hearing for a single employee who has been demoted because of misconduct. (See Ng v. State Personnel Bd. (1977) 68 Cal. App. 3d 600, 605-606 [137 Cal. Rptr. 387].) It is quite another to require the State to conduct pre-layoff hearings for 95 employees in the midst of a financial crisis. Indeed, the cost of such hearings would simply exacerbate the crisis, primarily because the State would have to keep the affected employees on the payroll pending the outcome of the hearings. Nor could an employer conduct an adequate "group hearing," since each employee would want to explain why his or her particular position should not be eliminated or why he or she is more deserving of retention than others. Ironically, the cost of pre-layoff hearings might well have the ultimate effect of increasing the number of employees subject to layoff. "Where a reorganization or other cost-cutting measure results in dismissal of an employee[,] no [predeprivation] hearing is due." ( Duffy v. Sarault (1st Cir. 1989) 892 F.2d 139.) "In the ordinary, budgetary lay-off situation, . . . individual pre-lay-off hearings are not necessary given the impracticality of imposing such a requirement." ( Praprotnik v. City of St. Louis (8th Cir. 1986) 798 F.2d 1168, 1177, revd. on other grounds (1988) 485 U.S. 112 [108 S. Ct. 915, 99 L. Ed. 2d 107]; accord, Franks v. Magnolia Hosp., supra, 888 F. Supp. at p. 1314; Graham v. Triway Bd. of Edn. (1992) 82 Ohio App.3d 34, 39 [610 N.E.2d 1185, 1188].) As the United States Supreme Court has observed: "Financial cost alone is not a controlling weight in determining whether due process requires a particular procedural safeguard prior to some administrative decision. But the Government's interest, and hence that of the public, in conserving scarce fiscal and administrative resources is a factor that must be weighed. At some point the benefit of an additional safeguard to the individual affected by the administrative action and to society in terms of increased assurance that the action is just, may be outweighed by the cost. Significantly, the cost of protecting those whom the preliminary administrative process has identified as likely to be found undeserving may in the end come out of the pockets of the deserving since resources available for any particular program . . . are not unlimited." ( Mathews v. Eldridge (1976) 424 U.S. 319, 348 [96 S. Ct. 893, 909, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18].)