(Or, States That Don't Suck For Employees, Part II)I was doing some research for this series on pro-employee state laws and ran across a piece by that bastion of liberalism, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rating states either Good, Fair or Poor for employers. It's been a fantastic source of information for my upcoming pieces in this series, since all I have to do is look for the "Poor" rated states to find a rant about their pro-employee laws.
What I found most interesting, though, was what they wrote about Montana. Montana is notable as the only state in the nation that requires just cause for employers to terminate employees. It's the only non-at-will state, which is something I frequently mention when I write or speak about employment law. Almost as an afterthought, the U.S. Chamber says this about Montana:
The state is also among the nation’s leaders in the fewest number of labor and employment lawsuits filed per 10,000 employees.Really? So not only did Montana not fall off the map under the weight of employee suits by employees claiming they weren't fired for just cause, but they have fewer employee suits than places like Florida that it rates "Good" for employers due to the utter lack of pro-employee laws. Here's what they say about supposedly pro-employer Florida:
Perhaps the most surprising element of Florida’s generally favorable labor and employment-law climate is its litigation problem. The state has an extraordinary number of labor and employment related lawsuits, with 5.69 such lawsuits filed per 10,000 employees. Only Alabama has a higher ratio.Alabama, by the way, is also rated "Good" for employers.
Hmm. So states that allow employers to be jerks to employees at-will have more employee suits, and states that make employers treat employees decently have few employee suits. Coincidence? I think not. I think if you treat a person decently they're much less likely to sue you. Doctors have found that out, so when will employers learn?
Treating employees like stuff at the bottom of your shoe equals more lawsuits. Treating employees will and firing only for just cause equals fewer lawsuits.
Are any legislators listening?