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Public Employee Rights: Hiring, Discipline, Termination, Speech and Interrogation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will give employment lawyers guidance on the wide array of issues in the public employment sector. Because government action is present in the public employer/public employee relationship, the employees have different rights and the employers have different duties.


There are vast differences between public sector employees and private sector employees. A governmental employer faces restrictions that a private employer does not. Hiring, job conduct, discipline and termination take on a different meaning in the public sector.

Governments cannot hire without following processes that exist under the law. The advertising, hiring period, testing and screening processes are much more rigid and detailed than those seen in the private sector. Failure to implement or follow these processes can result in litigation.

While on the job, public employees have different rights and restrictions. There are First Amendment considerations that may apply to a public employer which are foreign to private employers. Public employees also have certain rights, under the Fifth Amendment, to refuse to answer questions as part of investigations.

Discipline and termination are also quite different. The "employment at will" concept that permeates so many private employment relationships has no place in the context of public employment. Public-sector employers generally cannot discipline, demote or fire employees unless there is "cause," and such employees get to present at a hearing evidence and reasons why there exists no basis for firing or other disciplinary action.

Listen as our panel of experienced professionals identifies and describes these important differences, and provides employment law professionals with valuable guidance in addressing these differences.



  1. Public vs. private sector employment
    1. Economic differences: freedom to contract, employment at will
    2. Constitutional differences: the impact of a government actor
  2. Job-decision concepts
    1. Hiring
    2. Discipline
    3. Termination
  3. Conduct concepts
    1. Speech
    2. Investigation


The panel will review these and other relevant matters:

  • Understanding fundamental differences between public and private rights and duties
  • Employment decisionmaking in the public employment context
  • Public employees' and employers' rights and restrictions


Adria Lynn Silva

The Law Office of Adria Lynn Silva

Ms. Silva has been in private practice since 2001 representing employees in employment discrimination cases, including...  |  Read More

Wagner, Lindsey
Lindsey Wagner

Scott Wagner & Associates

Ms. Wagner is experienced in matters of litigation, arbitration, and administrative hearings, and is admitted to...  |  Read More

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