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Without Just Cause: An Employer's Practical and Legal Guide on Wrongful Discharge.

One of the most rapidly evolving topics of law is individual employment rights. It has no clearly defined boundary and encompasses a multitude of employment statutes and court decisions. It finds its support in constitutional law and has developed as part of specialized employment law subjects, including record keeping and disclosure, labor relations, health and safety, labor standards, and fair employment practices.

Without Just Cause is an addition to the Bureau of National Affairs' (BNA) series of special reports, which has covered such topics as workplace theft, negligent hiring, workplace privacy, employee testing, AIDS, and alcohol and drug testing. This report focuses on evolving individual employment rights.

A century ago, employees' workplace rights were limited or nonexistent. Today, statutory protections and the judicial erosion of the at-will employment relationship have increased those rights. As employers develop techniques to uncover non job related information, however, new threats to employee rights are emerging. The legal system protecting individual rights has not kept up with these changes.

More and more employers want to invade employees' bodies and minds through drug and polygraph examinations. Some employers intentionally injure their employees through workplace assignments. Others think it is all right to have employees violate the law and to terminate them when they refuse or simply because they serve on juries. Legislatures and courts are only now focusing on these problems.

This BNA report attempts to provide a general overview of the developing field of individual employment fights. It addresses anyone in a position affecting employee rights through hiring, evaluation, demotion, promotion, or termination. Primarily, this includes anyone working in or with human resource departments, including attorneys.

The report is designed to meet three needs. First, it consolidates the broad spectrum of individual employment rights contained in federal and state statutes, court decisions, administrative agency findings, and arbitration awards into one source.

Second, it examines individual employment rights in general and specialized terms, which is necessary to obtain an overall understanding of legal issues that may arise. Third, it combines theory and practice. The report is to be used by researchers, human resource practitioners, and students as an introduction to this topic.

Without Just Cause provides an up-to-date summary by focusing on individual employment issues of greatest concern to employers. These include major exceptions to the at-will employment relationship, the public policy exception, contracts and employment handbooks, legal theories employees use in instituting litigation against employers, statutory protections, employers' liability for adverse employee actions, damages available to employees, insurance coverage for employee litigation, preemption and exhaustion of remedies, limiting liability when faced with adverse employee action, and employer litigation tactics. The appendixes include a state-by-state survey of exceptions to the at-will employment rule along with a selected bibliography, sample forms and guidelines for human resource administrators, and a glossary of terms.

The report is well written, full of up-to-date information, and compact enough to use as an everyday resource guide both in and outside the workplace. Human resource professionals will find the report particularly valuable when confronting problems with individual employment rights and for gaining practical insights on successfully limiting employer liability.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Decker, Kurt H.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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