The Rise of At-Will Employment and Racial Inequality in the Public Sector

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22 Scopus citations


This article assesses several likely consequences of moving from a traditional tenure to an at-will system of employment for patterns of racial inequality in the public sector. On the basis of these consequences, it is argued that an at-will system may negate the long-standing status of the public arena as the labor market niche for African Americans. The broad discretion of employers may increase susceptibility of African Americans to discrimination-induced job dismissals. In addition, employment at will may reduce the social-psychological benefits traditionally associated with government employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalReview of Public Personnel Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • employment
  • inequality
  • public sector
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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