UPDATE:Judge won't immediately stop state govt. layoffs

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UPDATE on 2/23: A judge has refused to issue an emergency order blocking state employee layoffs being imposed because of big budget cuts.

However, Judge Andrew Klein of the Maricopa County Superior Court on Monday strongly suggested to lawyers for the state that it needs to do a better job of including explanations of employee rights in future layoff notices.

Klein scheduled a March 19 hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction sought in a class-action lawsuit filed last week by a labor union.

Violated workers' rights to due process

PHOENIX -- A labor union and current and former state employees sued the state, Gov. Jan Brewer and agency directors to try to halt layoffs resulting from recent budget cuts.

The class-action lawsuit filed Thursday by the Service Employees International Union alleges that the state failed to follow its rules on so-called "reductions in force." It also contends that the state violated workers' constitutional rights to due process.

Union spokesman Chris Coil said the lawsuit represents pushback by state employees who haven't been given a voice in how the state responds to its budget crisis.

He said the union had been in contact with Brewer's office regarding its concerns, but Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman had no immediate comment.

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