government action can take place at any level of government, whether municipal, county, state, or federal, as long as it is within the territorial limits of its jurisdiction. The taking of private land must be in accordance with the due process of law spelled out in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.
The Fifth Amendment recognizes this privilege by stating: "No person shall be deprived of . . . property . . . without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Most state constitutions have similar wording. Precisely what the interpretation of these words mean has been subject to debate and much litigation for over two hundred years.
Eminent domain is a politically unpopular procedure used generally as a last resort when negotiations between the government and the private property owner break down. The chances that the private party can stop the seizure of private land by the government for public purposes is very remote. The only recourse for a private party is in the area of "just compensation," which is based on fair market value. Fair market value is ascertained by the price of the property at the time it is taken. It is determined from what a willing buyer would pay in cash to a willing seller based on the highest and best use of the property taken, even though the owner may not have been using the property to its fullest potential when it was taken. Ninety-eight percent of the cases involve only the expansion of the amount of compensation awarded to the owner and not the question of whether the taking is legal.
The use of eminent domain has increased substantially over the past 50 years. The reasons are twofold. First of all, because of the increased involvement of the government, courts have expanded the meaning of "public use." The Supreme Court ruled in Bennan v. Parker, 75 S.Ct.98. that public use can include giving the land for private use in cases of urban renewal because this form of taking is viewed as benefiting the public good.
Second, eminent domain usually arises because of growth. As the population expands, the intensity of land use increases and the boundaries expand. This creates a steadily increasing demand for public services such as pipelines for gas and water, fire stations, schools, highways, streets, bridges, airports, landfills and dumps, sewage treatment systems and the like. With expansion, there has become a growing tendency for the courts to defer to state and local government interpretations of the Fifth Amendment's "public use" requirement.
It should also be noted that property does not have to be physically taken by the government in order for someone to be compensated. The Supreme Court has ruled that if government action leads to a lower property value, a taking has occurred and the landowner is entitled to receive compensation equal to his or her loss.
Durham, James, 1985. "Efficient Just Compensation as a Limit on Eminent Domain". Minnesota Law Review, vol. 69 (June).
Hagman, Donald G., 1975. Urban Planning and Land Development Control Law. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Platt, Rutherford H. 1991. Land Use Control. Geography, Law, and Public Policy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Wilder, Margaret and Joyce E. Stigler, 1989. "Rethinking the Role of judicial Scrutiny in Eminent Domain". Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 55(Winter) 57-66.
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP). A plan implemented by an employer to help employees with alcohol and drug abuse, family, financial, medical, gambling and other problems that can affect job performance.
Troubled employees are employees whose job performance has been affected by one or more problems in their lives. The most common of these problems are alcoholism and alcohol abuse, drug dependency, mental and emotional disorders, compulsive gambling, financial difficulties, marital discord, family problems, and legal problems. Public and private organizations are responding to the needs of these employees by establishing employee assistance programs.
Mental health programs were present in industry as early as 1917. R. H. Macy and Company and Northern State Power Company in Minneapolis provided employee assistance services in 1917 and Metropolitan Life Insurance began a program in 1919. In 1929 the first book on the subject was published, Psychiatry in Industry, by V. V. Anderson, Director of Medical Research for R. H. Macy & Co., Inc. Dr. Anderson believed that the most important element in labor difficulties is the mental condition of the worker. He found that "physical, mental, and social factors produce unacceptable reactions, create faulty attitudes, and develop mental patterns and habits that mold the worker's character and personality, and that determine his career." So he suggested the use of psychological tests to prevent or alleviate some personnel problems. Today EAPs seek to prevent work failures by studying whole personalities, assisting employees in dealing with their problems, and enabling them to perform acceptably for the business. Dr. Anderson's work was very early and directly related to contemporary EAP objectives ( Anderson 1977).
In the 1940s the DuPont Corporation developed the first systematic program to assist employees with alcohol problems. Much of what has been written about EAPs attribute DuPont with having given birth to the programs.