At-will employment and racial equality in the public sector: The demise of a niche?

George Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter addresses evolving patterns of racial inequality of African Americans in the public sector, their labor market niche. It discusses several likely race-based consequences ensuing as the rules governing employment change in the public sector from the long-standing system based on tenure to one predicated on principles of at-will employment. The discretion of employers may increase susceptibility to discriminatory-induced job dismissals. The implementation of an at-will system may disproportionately reduce the social psychological benefits —job satisfaction and organizational commitment/loyalty —traditionally associated with employment in the public sector. Evidence that the public sector constitutes a niche for African Americans derives from the 2004 wave of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Levels of perceived "job certainty", an underpinning of both experiential domains, would, presumably, decrease more for African Americans than Whites if they became more susceptible to discriminatorily induced job dismissals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Public Service
Subtitle of host publicationRadical Reform and the Merit System
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351576796
ISBN (Print)9780849305344
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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