QWC 794-03 Employment Law

This course provides a foundational survey of key state and federal laws that protect employee rights and employer interests in the workplace. After beginning with a discussion of the various legal paradigms implicit in workplace regulation, the course is organized around five themes: (1) The Rise and Questionable Fall of At-Will Employment; (2) Job Security, Employee Mobility & Workplace Freedom; (3) Wage and Hour Legislation; (4) The Laws Governing Workplace Accidents and Safety, and; (5) Private Dispute Resolution and Arbitration in the Workplace. These themes are addressed in the context of a globalized labor market, a critical assessment of the safety net that is supposed to protect the low-wage workforce, non-standard work arrangements, and the impact of web-based communications in the workplace. For questionable pedagogical reasons, the teaching of "employment law" has traditionally been separated from the study of "labor law." and from "employment discrimination law." Consequently, by design, the course does not cover in great depth the National Labor Relations Act, public sector labor law, or the laws protecting workers from status-based discrimination (e.g. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act). However, the course does introduce these laws and the basic legal rules governing the right to form unions and collectively bargain as well as the protections afforded to employees because of discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc. The readings are inevitably somewhat eclectic and the structure of this course attempts to grapple with what are truly academic distinctions separating one area of workplace law from another because employers and employees routinely grapple with workplace disputes that arise under a complex web of interrelated and sometimes conflicting legal rules. This is a Qualified Writing Course with multiple assignments, some of which will require re-writes. Assignments may include the drafting of advocacy briefs and other filings required during workplace dispute litigation as well as academic essays requiring a synthesis and critical assessment of certain workplace law topics and cases being studied. This course satisfies 3 Writing Units.