TITLE

CAVEAT PUBLIC EMPLOYER: SELECTED LEGAL ISSUES IN NON--FEDERAL AGENCY REDUCTIONS IN FORCE

AUTHOR(S)
Spurrier Jr., Robert L.
PUB. DATE
March 1986
SOURCE
Public Administration Quarterly;Spring86, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p60
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article examines the legal factors which must be confronted by public employers faced with budget shortages and considering reduction-in-force. By definition, a reduction in force has greater impact on some public employees than others. One approach to routinizing the process for selecting the employees who will be negatively affected by a reduction-in-force is the utilization of some form of seniority system. When the Memphis, Tennessee, fire department faced projected budget shortages in 1981, it attempted to implement a reduction in force using a last hired, first fired system which was based on continuous service from latest date of permanent employment on a citywide basis. Concluding that there was a racially discriminatory effect against African American firefighters, the district court enjoined enforcement of the seniority-based reduction-in-force program. An important aspect of the Memphis decision is the fact that the city had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the firefighters union which included the use of seniority as the basis for individual determinations if layoffs became necessary. Furthermore, for public managers the adoption of a seniority-based reduction-in-force policy is a legally acceptable position in view of the clear Supreme Court ruling in Stotts as long as the reduction-in-force plan is not adopted with the intent to discriminate.
ACCESSION #
7151812

 

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