Employment / Personal Injury / Business
Public Sector Employment Affords You the Right to Due Process
Public sector employment provides additional constitutional rights that are not available to employees in the private sector. Unlike in the private sector where the general “at-will employment” rule means an employer may fire an employee at any time for any reason or no reason at all, public employees’ jobs may be considered property rights. Therefore, the United States Constitution prohibits a government employer from depriving an employee of his or her job without “due process of law.” Due process is generally considered to mean the right to be given notice of the disciplinary action and the reasons for it as well as an opportunity to be heard. However, an opportunity to be heard does not always mean a formal hearing. It may simply be an opportunity for review by a higher-level official. Employees who are removed from their jobs without the proper steps may seek relief from the courts for the constitutional violations.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
Public sector employment may also present additional roadblocks to lawsuits not encountered in the private sector. The government, and government officials, may assert “sovereign immunity” as a defense. Sovereign immunity is a doctrine which simply says the government cannot be sued for wrongdoing unless it has consented to the lawsuit or the lawsuit falls within certain narrow exceptions, for example, a constitutional violation. Knowing whether or not your case may fit within one of the exceptions requires the training possessed by a skilled employment attorney like Scott Fegley.
Schoolteachers, police officers, sanitation workers, employees of government agencies, and civilian employees of the armed forces are all employees who must contend with the additional legal issues raised by public sector employment. If you work in the public sector and are concerned about your rights and your job, contact us or give us a call to schedule a free consultation at (215) 493-8287.