A NYT article on efforts to change Italy's labor laws contrasted the protections for Italian workers with those for workers in the United States. It told of the lengthy legal process that an employer had to follow to fire a worker who he alleged had been caught stealing with the situation in the United States:
"By contrast, a private sector employer in the United States could have terminated the worker as soon as a theft was detected, unless a union contract was involved or antidiscrimination laws were violated."
Actually, a private sector employer can terminate a worker who it thinks is stealing, even if they never caught the worker. In fact, they can fire the worker just because they think they are the type of person who might steal or just because they don't like him or her. Workers who are not protected by union contracts or civil service guidelines can be fired any time for any reason that does not violate anti-discrimination laws.
The one exception to this rule is the state of Montana. Montana has just cause dismissal, which means that employers must have a reason for firing a worker.
[Addendum: It would have been appropriate to speak to a union representative or at least someone other than an employer to get their perspective on this issue. The folks at the NYT apparently are under the impression that employers always tell the truth. In fact, this is sometimes not the case.]