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Published June 05, 2020
As the world has become completely upended from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions of employment and labor law issues have been brought to the forefront. With recommendations and guidelines changing on a daily basis, employers are constantly seeking new ways to protect employees as well as their businesses, while employees are urged to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus. In this confusing time in which guidance on protection, relief, and following regulations is critical, Professor Michael C. Duff has shared his expertise on multiple topics.
Quoted by The Guardian, Reuters, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Law, Professor Duff is now one of the most quoted experts in the nation on OSHA and COVID-19, and has become a go-to-person for the national news.
As a prominent national expert on workers’ compensation systems and labor law, he is frequently sought out for his legal analysis of current issues. He has written extensively on various complex labor and employment matters, including preemption issues emerging from the interplay of Title I of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and state workers’ compensation systems.
An experienced legal practitioner, Professor Duff spent nearly a decade working as an attorney, adjudicative official, and investigator in various National Labor Relations Board offices immediately prior to joining the College of Law’s faculty. In his work life preceding the study of the law, Professor Duff was for eleven years a Teamsters shop steward and blue-collar ramp service worker in the airline industry, leaving that occupation in 1992 to study labor law at the Harvard Law School.
Duff has been a Professor at the College of Law since 2006. He is a Vice Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and a fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the Pound Civil Justice Institute. In 2017, Professor Duff was elected a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He was also recently selected as the 2020 Outstanding Professor for the College of Law.
In addition to offering his expertise to national media outlets, Professor Duff has two upcoming publications. The first, Worker Safety in a Pandemic, will be published as white paper by the Center for Progressive Reform, and is co-authored with Professor Thomas O. McGarity of the University of Texas School of Law, and Professor Sidney Shapiro of Wake Forest Law. The paper is anticipated to be available in June.
The second forthcoming publication is an article with the Saint Louis University Law Review titled Work Stoppages in the New Work, Non-Union Economy. A significant portion of the article is devoted to analysis of the rights of non-union employees to concertedly refuse dangerous work assignments. The article is expected to publish in late fall.
Finally, Professor Duff has proven to be an incredible local resource as well. After several years of work including multiple presentations, he has published a substantial resource for the state of Wyoming, a Treatise on Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Law. The Treatise explores workers' compensation laws and issues relating specifically to Wyoming and is an open source available for download.
The College of Law is extremely proud of Professor Duff and all that he has accomplished. We are humbled to have such an in-demand expert among our ranks.