Still 'Takin' Care of Business?': A Comparative Analysis of Amendments to the Georgian Labor Code
3 Georgian Commercial Law Review 39 (2014)
16 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2013 Last revised: 4 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 2, 2013
The Georgian Labor Code has recently moved away from an American “at-will” regime to a “just cause” system. This change alters significantly the relationship between Georgian employers and Georgian employees – reducing discretion for employers and adding significant job protection rights for employees. While this model diverges from the American at-will employment model, the codification of just cause principles brings the new Labor Code closer to the American traditional labor law model where employees generally enjoy protection from discharge unless based on just cause through collective-bargaining agreements.
This article examines three main provisions in the new Georgian Labor code allowing for (1) immediate termination if based on the employee’s gross violation of duty, (2) termination for misconduct or negligence only after prior warning, and (3) termination based on “any other objective reason.” The article posits that American arbitral law developed under the grievance and arbitration provisions of collective-bargaining agreements can provide a useful source of common law to guide the application of the new code in practice. The article then provides useful examples of the types of employee behavior that might support termination and the due process and other procedural issues that arise under a just cause system.
The article concludes that the new Georgian Labor Code provides opportunities for both employers and employees and that it is ultimately too soon to conclude whether Georgia is still taking care of business.
Keywords: Just Cause, Arbitration, Employment At-Will, Republic of Georgia, Labor Code
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