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Journal Article

The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States

Alan B. Krueger
ILR Review
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Jul., 1991), pp. 644-660
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/2524454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2524454
Page Count: 17
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The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States
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Abstract

In the past decade, many state courts have ruled in favor of employees alleging they were improperly dismissed. The author of this paper advances an evolutionary theory of unjust-dismissal legislation in which employer groups, responding to the threat of large and variable damage awards imposed by the judicial system, eventually support unjust-dismissal legislation in order to clearly define property rights, reduce uncertainty, and limit employer liability. Based on evidence from a case study of legislation enacted in Montana and an empirical analysis of the determinants of proposed unjust-dismissal legislation in a panel of states, the author concludes that proposals of unjust-dismissal legislation are a response to court rulings that weaken and obfuscate the employer's right to dismiss employees at will.

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