Tribal Employment Separation: Tribal Law Enigma, Tribal Government Paradox, and Tribal Court Conundrum

72 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2005

See all articles by Matthew L. M. Fletcher

Matthew L. M. Fletcher

Michigan State University - College of Law


This Article discusses the difficulty of employment separations in Indian Country. The central premise of this Article is that Euro-American law and jurisprudence is uniquely unsuited to Indian Tribes and Tribal Courts. The result of the implementation of employment separation law and jurisprudence by Tribes and Tribal Courts is unnecessary litigation and emotional suffering. Part I of this Article describes the characteristics of employment with Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations. Tribes are usually close-knit communities that generally employ a significant percentage of Tribal Members. Part II describes the legal structures required by the Euro-American legal system as imposed on Indian Tribes and considers how these structures create significant legal problems for the Tribes and social problems for the Indian communities. Part III analyzes the Tribal law of sovereign immunity as it applies to lawsuits by discharged employees in Tribal Courts. Part IV proposes the reduction of harms associated with employment separations. Since most Tribes have adopted significant portions of Euro-American law and jurisprudence, a blanket restructuring of Tribal legal systems would be extremely difficult. This proposal cuts through much of problems associated with adjudicating Tribal employment separation disputes.

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Matthew L. M., Tribal Employment Separation: Tribal Law Enigma, Tribal Government Paradox, and Tribal Court Conundrum. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 38, Winter 2005, Available at SSRN:

Matthew L. M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

648 N. Shaw
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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