16 May 2022


Due Process in Public and Private Institutions

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Assignment

Words: 834

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Laws and policies relating to workplaces are instrumental in guiding the process that should be taken in almost all scenarios (Werhane et al., 2014). The role of legal provisions and regulations is to ensure that organizations not only respect the rights of their employees but also ensure that due process is followed in case of any disputes. The following paper seeks to compare and contrast public and private institutions in following the due process at workplaces. 

It is critical to underscore that private sector employees are tasked to work primarily for businesses or not for- profit organizations or agencies (Silver, 2011). On the other hand, public sector employees are hired to fulfill not only official duties or functions but also perform public services which include the enforcement of the law, public safety, and public education among others. Since employers in the public sector are agencies in the government, public employees are granted specific rights by the constitutional law that their counterparts in the private sector may not be enjoying (Werhane et al., 2014). Although this is the case, certain privileges of employees in the public sector, particularly union speech and activity are commonly restricted to ensure that the government agencies perform their functions effectively. The other reason for such a scenario is based on the fact that most of these employees often hold positions of trust in the society. 

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The consideration of due process in the job security is another concern in regards to both private and public institutions (Werhane et al., 2014). Notably, job security is such a key issue to any employee since it defines not only the future career direction of an individual but also the level of protection of his or her tenure at the current workplace. Most of the private sector workers are “at-will” employees, which makes them vulnerable to firing for any given reason besides gender, race, exercising rights that have been provided by different statutes such as workers’ compensation as well as testifying in a court of law (Slater, 2015). On the other hand, public sector employers are not allowed to demote, discipline, or fire employees without having a clear “cause,” which may include dishonesty, violation of work policies, poor performance or misconduct. Government employees who are under “at-will” category are required to be present at a given hearing to provide reasons as well as evidence why there is no basis for their disciplinary actions or firing. It is critical to emphasize that whether a specific employee is “at-will” is dependent upon if the said employee has a contract for guaranteed employment or one is covered through a given law (which is commonly emphasized for public employees) that provides for firing only for cause (Silver, 2011). However, it is important to underscore the fact that some employees in the public sector may at times be considered as “at-will” employees. 

Further, the First Amendment effect on both private and public due processes should as well be addressed. Based on the United States Constitution, government, organizations, businesses, or private citizens are prevented from interfering with other people freedom of speech (Silver, 2011). On this basis, employers in the private sector are allowed to fire or demote employees based on the views they have expressed. On the contrary, employees in the public sector or the government are entitled to protection for statements they make at a personal level on any issues that concern the public (Werhane et al., 2014). This is unless the speech being considered contains materials that may in one way hurt the ability of any agency in the government to properly function. In reference to the Supreme Court of the United States in the Garcetti v. Ceballos case, the judges ruled that the First Amendment does not provide for the protection of statements that an employee of a government makes as part of the job duties of the same employee.

The due process in both private and public sectors also touches the issue of unions at workplaces. According to the federal law, unlike those in the public sector, employees in the private sector have been given the right to join unions (Werhane et al., 2014). The role of such unions is to negotiate with employees’ employers on different matters such as working conditions, wages among others. The unions can also advise their members on when and how to take up group action on employment issues which include having the right to industrial action. Employers in the private sector are not allowed to fire, demote or discipline an employee for joining any union or for advocating for their rights. However, it should be remembered that currently, many states have allowed public employees the liberty to join unions and advocate or agree on specific benefits.

Finally, in case of organizational conflicts, both the private and public sector employees have the right to be heard but under different circumstances (Silver, 2011). For the public sector for instance, employers are not allowed to force their employees into making statements that can be used against them in any court proceedings. A public employer may need an employee to respond to specific questions in an internal agency inquiry after an employee has been informed that any answers given will not be used against him or her. Since the Fifth Amendment does not apply to private employees or employers, employees in the private sector have the right to the presence of a representative from a union during an investigation.


Silver, I. (2011). Public employee discharge and discipline . New York: Aspen Publishers.

Slater, J. E. (2015). Public workers: Government employee unions, the law, and the state. NY: ILR Press.

Werhane, P. H., Radin, T. J., Bowie, N. E., & Wiley InterScience (Online service). (2014). Employment and employee rights . Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Due Process in Public and Private Institutions.


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