Employment Law: What Just Cause Is
Just Cause is an increasingly common standard in U.S. labor law litigation which is utilized in employment contract disputes in the United States, specifically in U.S. labor unions. Under this standard, if an employee or union leader files a complaint against another individual or organization for violation of his rights under the FDCPA, the burden of proof lies with the defendant to prove that the activity in question did not occur. If the defendant cannot reasonably satisfy this burden of proof, the court must vacate and/or enjoin the conduct complained of, whether or not the other party involved consented to the alleged activities. In other words, the mere presence of an employee or union at a work site does not establish that the activity in question actually occurred.
Another important aspect of the Just Cause standard is the "harm" element attached to the actions of the employees or the employers. Under Just Cause, a reasonable person would find it "harmful" for the employer or employee to do what is complained of, either to themselves or someone else, if that conduct causes harm to another individual who is not a co-worker, family member, or close friend. For example, a police officer has no lawful justification for arresting someone simply because that person may later be injured or killed if convicted of the officer's actions. Therefore, the employment of the police officer must always be controlled by a strict standard of just cause.
A related standard is the "effects" prong of the Just Cause analysis. This portion of the analysis requires that an employment action prove two things: (a) that a concrete effect, such as a deprivation of employment, is occurring and (b) that a reasonable person would believe that such a deprivation is occurring. If the drafter of the contract does not know what the employee intended to achieve, or if there is some likelihood that such an action will have a negative result, the cause exists, even though there is no legal or practical reason to believe that such an act is unlawful. This is a significant part of the employee's right to bring an unfair treatment case to court and can have a significant impact on the amount of damages a plaintiff can seek.