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State workers have limited right to challenge firings

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Here’s a reminder if you work at a Texas public university or another state-affiliated organization: Employees may have a “property interest” in their jobs. That means they’re entitled to receive notice that they are being fired—and to challenge the decision.

That doesn’t have to be a protracted or complicated process. It’s enough to simply give the employee a chance to challenge the decision and tell his side of the story.

Recent case: Constantin Ionnides was fired from his nontenured faculty job at the University of Texas when he failed to raise enough grant money to cover at least 30% of his salary.

He challenged the decision and met with the university president. Still, the decision stood, so he sued, alleging that he had been denied due process.

The court said the university had fulfilled its obligations. (Ionnides v. University of Texas, No. 10-20382, 5th Cir., 2011)

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