If I work for the federal, state or local government (a public employee) can I be fired for no reason?
If you hold a government position (on the federal, state or local level) and are not a union member, you can be fired as if you are an at-will employee. However, as a public employee, there are several protections you are afforded. First, you cannot be fired for discriminatory reasons, i.e., because of your religion, race, or national origin. In addition, you cannot be fired for exercising your First Amendment rights, i.e., speaking out in public on a political issue. Finally, as a public employee you are protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which means that your employer must provide a reason for firing you, provide you a hearing for which you can contest the decision and have your argument heard by an impartial 3rd party.