Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill

470 U.S. 532, 105 S. Ct. 1487 (1985)



The essential requirements of due process are notice and an opportunity to respond. The opportunity to present reasons, either in person or in writing, why proposed action should not be taken is a fundamental due process requirement. The tenured public employee is entitled to oral or written notice of the charges against him, an explanation of the employer's evidence, and an opportunity to present his side of the story. To require more than this prior to termination would intrude to an unwarranted extent on the government's interest in quickly removing an unsatisfactory employee.


These are consolidated cases that involved two classified civil servants that were dismissed from service. Both civil servants are supposed to be dismissible only for cause and were entitled to post termination administrative review. But an Ohio statute (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 124.11) authorized their dismissal from employment without hearing. The civil servants claimed that § 124.34 was unconstitutional on its face because it did not provide an employee an opportunity to respond to the charges against him prior to removal, and, as a result discharged employees were deprived of liberty and property without due process.


May a state statute that creates a constitutionally protected property interest also limit the procedures for enforcing that right?




The Court stated that the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution provided that certain substantive rights, such as life, liberty, and property, could not be deprived except pursuant to constitutionally adequate procedures. The Court held that all the process that was due was provided by a pretermination opportunity to respond, coupled with post-termination administrative proceedings as provided by Ohio statute. As respondents alleged that they had no chance to respond, the district court erred in dismissing for failure to state a claim.

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