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State Employment Law: “Just Cause” or “Right to Work”?

An employee’s legal rights after termination from a job vary from state to state. In some states, called “at-will” states, employment is completely at-will, unless expressly stated otherwise. In those states, an employer may fire an employee at any time, for any reason (excluding constitutionally protected reasons such as race, religion, and sex). For example, your supervisor could walk into work tomorrow and say, “You’re doing a bad job. Get out. You’re fired.” In an at-will state, this could be legal. In other states, called just cause states, employees can only be fired for “just cause.” What constitutes just cause also varies from state to state. For example, an employee may have to be put on an “Employee Improvement Plan” to improve his or her job performance before being terminated. Unfortunately, at some point, most public administrators will have to terminate an employee. Therefore, knowing what type of state a public administrator is working in is crucial to ensuring compliance with the law.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review the assigned pages for Chapter 10 in The Study of Law: A Critical Thinking Approach (4th ed.) for an overview of employment law issues relevant to public administrators.

Review the article “Revisiting the At-Will Employment Doctrine: Imposed Terms, Implied Terms, and the Normative World of the Workplace” to explore how at-will employment functions in real-life situations.

Review the article “Labor and Employment Laws” to research employment laws and agencies within your state. Specifically, find out whether your state is an “at-will” or “just cause” state, and identity any protected classes from firing within your state. If necessary, use an Internet search engine of your choice to investigate these issues further.

Consider how those laws may affect a public administrator.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post a 300 word summary by Thursday February 02, 2017 of whether your state (Maryland) is an “at-will” or “just cause” state. Then, explain if there are protected classes from firing in your state. Finally, explain how you think those laws may affect a public administrator.

Support your work with proper APA citations from the Learning Resources and any other sources.

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