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College of Law

Employment Law

Course Number: 6745
Professor: Jacquelyn L. Bridgeman
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semester Offered: Fall
Required: No
Prerequisites: Students must have completed their first year of law school.
Recommended Courses: Constitutional Law II

Course Overview: In this class we will examine a variety of laws, regulations and legal theories governing the workplace and the employment relationship in its varied forms. Globalization, immigration, technological advances, and a variety of cultural changes have significantly shifted the type of work available in the United States, the way that work is performed, and who participates in the American workforce. In the midst of new and ever changing technologies, globalization and a volatile economy, sits the varied and dynamic laws governing the work relationship. From contract law to torts, property law to constitutional law, civil procedure, civil rights, a variety of regulatory regimes, as well as many laws that are specific to the employment context, the panoply of laws that govern and influence the employment relationship are many and varied. Whereas, the relationship of worker and employer is as old as human history, the law governing this area is relatively new and ever changing. This class seeks to explore this vast array of rules and laws in such a way that it provides students with solid grounding in the major doctrines and theories governing the employment relationship, but also provides them with the ability to think and reason about this dynamic area of law with respect to areas that are ever changing and unsettled. Thus, while significant time is spent on black letter law, a substantial amount of time is also spent understanding the theoretical underpinnings of the laws in the employment area and discussing how such laws should govern the employment relationship given the many current issues that arise in the context of that relationship and the ever changing nature of the employment relationship .Issues explored include globalization, immigration, healthcare, discrimination, pay structures, shifting workplace demographics and changes is the types of work available; to name a few. Specific laws examined include those governing hiring, firing, wage and hour, discrimination, breach of contract, health benefits, unemployment, workers compensation, and if time permits trade secrets, post-employment restrictions, occupational safety and health and alternative dispute resolution.

While this course will not devote extensive time to the labor-management relations laws that are covered in the separate Labor Law class, we will touch on the effects of collective bargaining agreements when pertinent. More often than not, both federal and state laws will govern a particular aspect of the employment relationship and state laws addressing a particular issue will differ. Therefore, when exploring the above topics, we will give attention to the interplay of these laws and the many procedural issues that arise in the employment context.

Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format: Socratic questioning, general class discussion, and problems and exercises performed inside and outside of class. The class is divided into law firms or groups and it is in the context of these groups that most Socratic questioning takes place and most in class discussion and problem solving is performed. For example, groups are called on in the course of routine questioning rather than individuals.
Written Assignments: There are approximately three short writing assignments that will be given throughout the semester. Students have the option of completing these assignments in a group or as an individual. Students also have the option of writing a major paper rather than taking the final exam. The major paper can be written to fulfill the law school writing requirement.
Type of Exam: Two hour open book; or students can write a major paper in lieu of taking the exam.
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Class participation and attendance, short writing assignments and either performance on the exam or the major paper.
Other Comments:

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