Improving Security Through Reducing Employee Rights

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2004


In the name of security, there have recently been many reductions or amendments of rights. The most widely publicized and discussed of these, in the United States, have concerned civil liberties. Less well-known, but also important, are reductions of employee rights, particularly rights of representation and employment security. Even these rights have a constitutional aspect. Government employee unions have claimed the new legislation violates employees’ due process rights under the United States’ Constitution. And, in fact, under American constitutional law, whether a government employee has a right to due process does depend on how much employment security is granted that employee by statute. I make no claim, however, that these rights are as long-established or highly valued as civil liberties. Private sector employees, as most airport screeners were until recently, have had representation rights for less than 70 years. United States government employees have had representation rights for only about 40 years, and those rights have been codified only since 1978

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