, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 311-325
Date: 14 Jul 2012

Distributive Justice, Employment-at-Will and Just-Cause Dismissal

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Abstract

Dismissal is a major issue for distributive justice at work, because it normally has a drastic impact on an employee’s livelihood, self-esteem and future career. This article examines distributive justice under the US’s employment-at-will (EAW) system and New Zealand’s just-cause dismissal system, focusing on the three main categories of dismissal, namely misconduct, poor performance and redundancy. Under EAW, employees have limited protection from dismissal and remedies are restricted to just a few so-called exceptions. Comparatively, New Zealand’s just-cause system delivers much more just outcomes, both in terms of remedies and punishments. Despite a few shortcomings, it should be considered as a reasonable reference for policy changes in the US.