Rethinking Job Security: A Comparative Analysis of Unfair Dismissal Law in the UK, Australia and the USA, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Rethinking Job Security

A Comparative Analysis of Unfair Dismissal Law in the UK, Australia and the USA, 1st Edition

By Joanna Howe


232 pages

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Paperback: 9781138363557
pub: 2018-08-14
Hardback: 9781472450579
pub: 2016-10-26
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pub: 2016-10-14
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This book critically examines the proper role of the law in protecting job security in the contemporary workplace. It provides a historical, theoretical, practical and comparative perspective on this under-researched, but fundamentally important, legal mechanism at a time when the pressure to deregulate and dilute worker-protective laws has taken on increased importance. The volume critically analyses both statute and case law from three advanced industrialised liberal democracies with a common law foundation, the UK, Australia and the USA, to understand the extent to which job security is realised. By applying a common approach and a conceptual framework that emphasises the complex relationships between law, the economy and society to analyse a series of national studies, the book is also designed to draw upon the insights of comparative analysis to deepen our understanding of the limits and possibilities of legal regulation of job security. The national case studies are supplemented by research that focuses on how supra-national organisations have sought both to develop and disseminate new legal norms around the practices and processes of dismissal. This study critically analyses and assesses the adequacy of the international regulatory framework for protecting the rights of employees in the dismissal process.


'This monograph provides a timely and sophisticated contribution to scholarship on comparative labour law, examining the evolutionary trajectories of dismissal protection in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its arguments are engaging, rigorous and perceptive. It will be widely read and influential in the field.'

Professor Alan L Bogg, University of Oxford, UK

'Rethinking Job Security: A Comparative Analysis of Unfair Dismissal Law in the UK, Australia and the USA makes an important contribution to understanding the operation and effect of the legal rules regarding job security. The careful comparison of the legal regimes in three common law jurisdictions with advanced economies goes beyond existing stylised accounts to offer a much more nuanced and sophisticated analysis of how laws relating to job security work in practice. Blending theoretical, legal, comparative and empirical analysis, Joanna Howe asks hard questions about whether the legal rules regulating job security promote the fair treatment of working people in the context of dismissal.'

Professor Judy Fudge, University of Kent, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Mark Freedland QC (Hon), FBA


Table of Cases

Table of Legislations

International Conventions

1. Introduction

2. United Kingdom - Part I: The Journey to Unfair Dismissal Law

3. United Kingdom - Part II: The Evolution and Erosion of Unfair Dismissal Law

4. Australia - Part I: The Journey to Unfair Dismissal Law

5. Australia - Part II: The Evolution and Erosion of Unfair Dismissal Law

6. United States of America - Part I: The Origins of Employment at Will

7. United States of America - Part II: The Evolution and Erosion of Employment at Will

8. Conclusion - Future Prospects for Job Security



About the Author

Joanna Howe is a Senior Lecturer of Law at the University of Adelaide and a consultant with Harmers Workplace Lawyers, Australia. Her research is focused on labour law and migration law. She has published on the subject in international journals, book contributions and the national press.

About the Series

Studies in Modern Law and Policy

Studies in Modern Law and Policy
The series provides a forum for the discussion of new fields and new theoretical analyses of law. It seeks to publish research which is located at the interface of law and policy. It is devoted to the contextual analysis of law. Context is understood as meaning both the political and social context as well as the international context of law. Accordingly the series comprises international, European and comparative as well as interdisciplinary approaches to the study of law. A special emphasis lies on socio-legal studies of general legal trends.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General