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It’s easy to get fired in America

Don’t get too comfy at your desk, your job might not be as secure as you think. Anecdotal reports from labor lawyers and a few polls show that most Americans believe their bosses must have a good reason to kick them to the curb. We labor under the illusion of what Harvard labor economist Richard Freeman calls, “there’s-got-to-be-a-law syndrome.” We don’t want to believe someone can be fired because her boss finds her sexually irresistible. In every other industrialized democracy, that couldn’t legally happen, but in 49 of the 50 states there is no law requiring a just or reasonable cause for employee termination.

Most Americans can be legally fired for almost any reason. Private sector workplace relationships tend to operate under the standard of employment-at-will, which means you can be fired for the color of your shirt, your political views, supporting your favorite sports team or for refusing to fetch your boss a cup of coffee. The Bill of Rights does not apply to your office.

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