Protection Against Unjust Discharge: The Need for a Federal Statute

We argue that only a federal statute can fully protect American workers from the harsh consequences of the employment-at-will rule. Part I of this Article outlines the nature and scope of the problems caused by the at-will doctrine. Part II surveys a variety of potential solutions to these problems – unionism, voluntary internal grievance mechanisms, existing statutes, the Constitution, and judicially created exceptions to the at-will rule – and finds each an inadequate source of protection. The final Part urges the enactment of a federal statute to protect all American workers from unjust dicharge and sets out several substantive criteria that such a statute should meet.