Administrative Law and Government Employees

  • Nuri Heckler
Living reference work entry



Legal context of public personnel management.


US public administration is guided by a complex tapestry of laws concerning government workers. This legal framework developed over the course of US history, arguably starting with one of the foundational cases of US law. Marbury v. Madison (1803) is cited for the rule that the Supreme Court is the primary authority over constitutional law, but the Court also held that a justice of the peace appointed by a previous president could not be fired by the current president without sufficient justification until the completion of the 5-year term created by law. Since that time, laws covering the public workforce have expanded and spread in several directions.

Four Goals of Law for Government Employees

Administrative laws governing public employees can be understood as serving four primary objectives. These objectives can reinforce each...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bowman JS, West JP (2009) To ‘Re-Hatch’ public employees or not? An ethical analysis of the relaxation of restrictions on political activities in civil service. Public Adm Rev 69:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. DOL (2016) Handy reference guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Government. U.S. Department of Labor. 2016.
  3. Epstein L, Walker TG (2007) Constitutional law for a changing America: rights, liberties, and justice, 6th edn. CQ Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. FLRA (2018) Federal Labor Relations Agency Homepage. Government 2018.
  5. Holoszyc-Pimentel R (2015) Reconciling rational-basis review: when does rational basis bite? N Y Univ Law Rev 90:2070Google Scholar
  6. Kohn SM (2011) The whistleblower’s handbook: a step-by-step guide to doing What’s right and protecting yourself. Lyons Press, GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Naff KC, Riccucci NM, Freyss SF (2014) Personnel Management in Government: politics and process, 7th edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  8. OGE (2017) Compilation of federal ethics laws. Government. Office of Government Ethics. 2017.
  9. OPM (2018) Office of personnel management. Government. 2018.
  10. Rosenbloom DH, O’Leary R, Chanin J (2010) Public administration and law, 3rd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  11. Walker AN (2014) Labor’s enduring divide: the distinct path of public sector unions in the United States. Stud Am Polit Dev 28(2):175–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Statutes of Interest (with Common Abbreviations Where Applicable)

  1. ADEA. Age Discrimination in Employment Act. 1967. U.S.C. Vol. 29Google Scholar
  2. ADA. Americans with Disabilities Act. 1990. U.S.C. Vol. 42Google Scholar
  3. CSRA. Civil Service Reform Act. 1978. 5 U.S.C. Vol. 5Google Scholar
  4. EEOA. Equal Employment Opportunities Act. 1974. USC. Vol. 42Google Scholar
  5. FLSA. Fair Labor Standards Act. 1938. U.S.C. Vol. 29Google Scholar
  6. False Claims Act. 1863. U.S.C. Vol. 31Google Scholar
  7. FMLA. Family Medical Leave Act. 1993. U.S.C. Vol. 29Google Scholar
  8. Hatch Act. 1939. U.S.C. Vol. 5Google Scholar
  9. OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Act. 1970. U.S.C. Vol. 29Google Scholar
  10. Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces. 2008. DoD Directive. Vol. 1344.10Google Scholar
  11. U.S. Constitution. 1789Google Scholar

Cases Cited

  1. Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)Google Scholar
  2. Brickey v. Hall, 828 F. 3d 298 (4th Cir. 2016)Google Scholar
  3. Brown v. Board of Ed. of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)Google Scholar
  4. Connick v. Meyers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983)Google Scholar
  5. Heffernan v. City of Paterson, NJ., 136 S. Ct. 1412 (2016)Google Scholar
  6. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)Google Scholar
  7. Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976)Google Scholar
  8. Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535 (1974)Google Scholar
  9. Pickering v. Board of Ed. of Township High School Dist, 391 U.S. 563 (1968)Google Scholar
  10. Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)Google Scholar
  11. University of Hawai’i Professional Assembly v. Cayetano, 183 F. 3d 1096. (9th Cir. 1999)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA