Monday, July 1, 2013

New Issue of E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies

AdaptOur friends at ADAPT are pleased to announce the latest issue of the E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, the open-access review promoted by ADAPT University Press.

Volume 2, No. 2 May-June 2013 contains the following:

Antonio Ojeda Avilés, The Primacy of Company level Agreements in Spain. An Unusual Approach for Continental Europe

Mirella Baglioni, The European Social Model: Revitalizing the Debate about its Prospects

James L. Tierney and Christina Cregan, A Blueprint for Union Revival? Strategy and Structure in a Successful Organising

Ismail Idowu Salih, Domestic Work in the UK: A Raw Deal for Migrants

Katherine Bischoping and Elizabeth Quinlan, Health and Safety Issues in Precarious Cultural Work

Emmanuel Unimke Ingwu and Joseph Idagu Ogah, The Impact of Wage Reform Policies on Industrial Relations in Nigeria’s State Universities: A Case for Multi-Employer Bargaining

Commentary

Éric L'Italien,Workplace Dress Code and Fundamental Rights

Book Reviews

Donella Caspersz, Ethnic Diversity in European Labor Markets: Challenges and Solutions ,by Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann. A Review

John Martin, Labour Markets at a Crossroads: Causes of Change, Challenges and Need to Reform, by Henrik Lindberg and Nils Karlson. A Review

PS

July 1, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ITUC Position Paper on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association: Finding the Balance

ItucLance Compa (Cornell ILR) has brought ot our attention a new paper from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the global unions UNI and IndustriALL countering employers' claims that a 2010 decision by the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association endorsed American management-style anti-union campaigns around the world. It is entitled: Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association: Finding a Balance (June 2013).

The case involved a Delta Airlines campaign against flight attendants' organizing. Lance worked on this along with Jeff Vogt of ITUC and Christy Hoffman of UNI, advised by Fred Feinstein of U. Maryland and Keith Ewing of Kings College London.

The International Organization of Employers, the Littler Mendelson law firm, and T-Mobile have been promoting the idea that the CFA's comments on employers' freedom of expression make NLRA Section 8(c) as interpreted by American courts the new international standard for employers' anti-union campaigns. The ITUC paper argues that the CFA decision did no such thing. On the contrary, the CFA reinforced the long-established standard  of non-interference in workers' organizing efforts: that freedom of expression cannot be abused in ways that interfere with freedom of association.

This issue will continue to be sharply debated both in the ILO context and in union organizing campaign efforts that invoke international standards on freedom of association.  All comments and thoughts are welcome.

PS

July 1, 2013 in Commentary, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Call for Papers for the Twelfth International Conference in Commemoration of Marco Biagi and Young Scholars' Workshop

ItalyflagSusan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) writes to encourage Americans to attend the Biagi conference in Italy this coming March 2014.

Here is the Call for Papers for the Twelfth International Conference in Commemoration of Marco Biagi, which will be held in Modena, Italy at the Marco Biagi Foundation of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, on Tuesday, March 18 – Wednesday, March 19, 2014.  The theme of the conference is “Employment and Social Rights: An Evolving Scenario.”  More information about the conference is contained within the call.

Additionally, Susan tells us about a Call for Papers for the Third Young Scholars' Workshop in Labour Relations, which will be held at the Marco Biagi Foundation on Monday, March 17, 2014, the day before the conference begins.  This programming is designed for PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers.  Those selected will present a paper for discussion at the workshop.  Those not selected may nonetheless be invited for a poster session, which will be held during the conference.

Questions should be directed to Susan's good friend and colleague Professor Iacopo Senatori: iacopo.senatori@unimore.it.  Iacopo is handling the organizational aspects of the conference and the Young Scholars’ Workshop.

PS

June 25, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ADAPT Forum on Internships: Internships and Traineeships: Occupational Transition or Exploitation?

AdaptLots of news and cases these days around the world about the plight of unpaid interns.  Our friends at ADAPT send us word that they will be holding a forum on the issues surrounding this important labor and employment law topic.  The name of the forum is: Internships and Traineeships: Occupational Transition or Exploitation? Here is a description:

We are pleased to inform you that the Association for International and Comparative Labour Studies (ADAPT) has launched a new discussion forum on the contentious issues of internships and traineeships. In our opinion, debating this matter from an international and comparative perspective is the best way to reflect upon the central questions related to labour market regulation: What is the meaning and value of labour and which is its proper legal definition? In reference to internships and training, are we talking about work or a simple learning experience? Which is the legal definition and, consequently, the most effective way to regulate internship? According to the different definitions and purposes, shoul d internships be paid or unpaid? How to evaluate and certificate the competence gained after a period of an internship? Who monitors and controls the regularity and the quality of internships? Should internships be limited to school alternation or school-to-work transition only? Is it possible to utilize people’s work without a formal contract?

We do not have pre-determined answers to all these questions, yet we strongly believe that today’s improper use of internships will have serious consequences not only on young people but also on the future of our economies and on the development of a sound society. This is why we want to open this forum and ask your contribution and suggestions, in order to provide the right answers to such a complex issue. We are aware that an international and multi-disciplinary approach could help us to devise a theoretical framework and some practical solutions in order to avoid that such an important lever in terms of school-to-work transition degenerates into forms of exploitation of young people.

This is an open access 2.0 forum. A simple registration is required.

The solutions provided in this forum will be discussed during the upcoming international conference, Internship and Traineeship for Students and Young People, Training, School-to-Work Transition or Exploitation?, organised by our International PhD School on Human Capital Formation and Labour Relations on October 25-26, 2013 in Bergamo.

You are welcome to join us in this forum and attend the conference, also by submitting a contribution in response to our call for papers.

For further information, make contact with our staff at news@adaptinternational.it

PS

June 12, 2013 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Levinson on Social Media, Privacy, and the Employment Relationship: The American Experience

LevinsonAriana R. Levinson (University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law) has recently posted on SSRN her forthcoming article in the Spanish Labour Law and Employment Relations Journal (SLLERJ), Vol. 2, NO. 1 (2013): Social Media, Privacy, and the Employment Relationship: The American Experience.

Here is the abstract:

This article posits that privacy issues arising in the United States from the use of social media and the employment relationship are similar to those that have arisen around the world. It suggests, however, that the patchwork of governing legal claims arising under different laws in different jurisdictions may be unique. After a brief introduction, the second section describes the recent passage of legislation in several states that may protect the privacy of job applicants’ passwords to social media sites. The third section describes the various claims employees may bring under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, in tort for invasion of privacy, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, or to enforce just cause provisions in collective bargaining agreements. The fourth section describes protection from overbroad discovery of social media when employers and former employees are involved in litigation. The article concludes by assessing the likelihood of further legal reform.

This is a very timely article given all the recent developments surrounding privacy law and social media in the last months and years. Indeed, just yesterday, Wisconsin introduced its own social media privacy legislation.  As someone who is working on an empirical project on workplace privacy expectation in light of technological advances, I am very much looking forward to reading Ariana's insights on this topic.

PS

May 30, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New ADAPT International Bulletin on Comparative Labor and Employment Law

AdaptOur friends at ADAPT, Chris Leggett and Michele Tiraboschi, bring word of the latest version of the ADAPT International Bulletin, including two comments.

The first note, which is from Gabriele Gamberini (PhD Candidate in Human Capital Formation and Labour relations and Visiting Researcher at Middlesex University, London) gives insights on whistleblowing in countries without whistleblower laws. Using a Game theory and taking the Italian case into a point, the article demonstrates the importance of creating internal channels for whistleblowing in countries with no whistleblower laws.

The second note that comes from Paul Jonker-Hoffrén (Post-doctoral Researcher, Turku Center for Labour Studies, Turku University) deals with the origin of the Youth Guarantee and explains briefly the goals, actors, and the pros and cons of the Finnish Youth Guarantee system.

This issue also includes the January edition of the E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies.

For further information, you can contact the ADAPT staff at news@adaptinternational.it

PS

May 29, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Call for Papers for International Comparative Sciences Symposium in Sofia, Bulgaria

ConfFrom friend of the blog, Dara Chernyeva, please consider the following international conference which touches on labor and employment law topics:

I'm writing to you to share the call for papers for a International Comparative Sciences Symposium in Sofia which is to be held in October this year. There are two sessions there which might be of interest to our colleagues:

- comparative law session;
- comparative labour studies session.

If you consider this event to be of possible interest to your colleagues working in the field of labour law (and possibly to your non-legal and/or non-labour-law colleagues as well), please feel free to share it with them. Please find below the third call for abstracts for this Symposium as forwarded to me by my Slovenian colleague and the link to the Symposium website.

The Symposium is a new initiative of the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society and our colleagues from the Society kindly asked me and other comparativists to share the information on this Symposium as widely as possible. We all know how difficult it may be sometimes to convene an international event for the first time at a national level. Therefore I believe it'd be a good idea to support this undertaking at least by spreading the information about it.

Here is the call for paper and conference website and registration information:

This is our Third Call for abstracts, full papers and roundtables to be submitted to the International Symposium on Comparative Sciences that will be organized by the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society and held in Sofia, Bulgaria, 8 - 11 October 2013. Please be informed that the abstract submission deadline is extended by 31 May.
 
This will be a forum where different comparative sciences can meet and discuss problems of common interest. Scholars from the following sciences are invited: Comparative Education, Comparative Psychology, Comparative Sociology, Comparative Religion, Comparative Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Comparative Civilization Studies, Comparative Mythology, Comparative Anthropology, Comparative Law, Comparative History, Comparative Labour Studies.
 
Hope you will find this Symposium productive and interesting. For more information please visit the Symposium website.

PS

May 23, 2013 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

ADAPT International Conference: Internship and Traineeship for Students and Young people. Training, School-to-work Transition or Exploitation?

AdaptFrom our friends at the ADAPT International Labor Law Program:

We are pleased to announce that ADAPT and the International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations are organizing the international conference: Internship and Traineeship for Students and Young people. Training, School-to-work Transition or Exploitation?, which is going to take place on 25-26 October 2013 at the University of Bergamo (Italy).

The conference is part of the ADAPT international events on Productivity, Investment in Human Capital and the Challenge of Youth Employment, which resulted in three volumes making up the ADAPT Labour Studies Book-Series edited by Cambridge Scholars Publishing and it aims at contributing to the current debate on youth unemployment and school-to-work transition.

Almost five years after the onset of the crisis, youth unemployment witnessed a further worsening. Besides persistent unemployment, the quality of youth employment is also challenged by the increase in non-standard, temporary, part-time and informal work. Tools to fill the youth productivity gap and ease school-to-work transition do exist, but sometimes they are misleadingly used and implemented. This is the case of traineeships, also known as internships or stages, which are conceived and implemented differently cross-nationally.

ADAPT and the International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations invite professors, researchers, doctoral students, experts, practitioners and all those interested in the conference topics to submit papers. Deadline for abstract submission is 1st July 2013. We particularly encourage graduate students to submit papers.

PS

We are pleased to announce that ADAPT and the International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations are organizing the international conference: Internship and Traineeship for Students and Young people. Training, School-to-work Transition or Exploitation?, which is going to take place on 25-26 October 2013 at the University of Bergamo (Italy).

The conference is part of the ADAPT international events on Productivity, Investment in Human Capital and the Challenge of Youth Employment, which resulted in three volumes making up the ADAPT Labour Studies Book-Series edited by Cambridge Scholars Publishing and it aims at contributing to the current debate on youth unemployment and school-to-work transition.

Almost five years after the onset of the crisis, youth unemployment witnessed a further worsening. Besides persistent unemployment, the quality of youth employment is also challenged by the increase in non-standard, temporary, part-time and informal work. Tools to fill the youth productivity gap and ease school-to-work transition do exist, but sometimes they are misleadingly used and implemented. This is the case of traineeships, also known as internships or stages, which are conceived and implemented differently cross-nationally.

ADAPT and the International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations invite professors, researchers, doctoral students, experts, practitioners and all those interested in the conference topics to submit papers. Deadline for abstract submission is 1st July 2013. We particularly encourage graduate students to submit papers.

May 16, 2013 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Doorey's Law of Work Blog Updated

D_dooreyDavid Doorey is a labour law professor at York University in Toronto who many of you know. His popular blog on labour and employment law, Law of Work Blog, has had a professional makeover.  

You should check it out as a great source of issues and events in Canadian law and policy.  Last year it received the honour of Best Law Blog in Canada. 

Defintely worth a look.

PS

May 7, 2013 in Faculty News, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Irony of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Susan_bisomrapp_webFriend of the blog and comparative and international LEL expert, Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) has kindly provided the following guest post. It is an excellent analysis of this week's Supreme Court decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Peltroleum. In it, she explains the labor and employment law ramifications of this important decision:

The Irony of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

Although not a case involving workers’ rights, the April 17th decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum was long-awaited by those interested in whether transnational corporations (TNCs) can be sued in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) for human rights violations perpetrated against foreign workers laboring abroad.  Rather than answer the question initially directed to the Court – Does the ATS confer jurisdiction over corporations? – the Supreme Court addressed a different question: Whether and under what circumstances may U.S. courts recognize an ATS cause of action for violations occurring within another sovereign territory?  In a fractured and somewhat muddy decision, the Court limited ATS cases, at least where the defendants are foreign corporations, the wrongdoing occurs outside the U.S., and the claims do not touch or concern the territory of the United States.  Even so, the Court left open enough questions that on the day the decision issued, workers’ rights advocates confidently opined that there is still a subset of viable ATS cases that may be brought against TNCs.

Kiobel was brought by Nigerian nationals against Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations, which the plaintiffs argued aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing human rights abuses as the latter sought to suppress environmental protests related to corporate oil exploration.  All nine justices agreed that the case should be dismissed but the four justices of the Court’s liberal wing (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan) disagreed with the reasoning of the majority (Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito).  A liberal wing concurrence was consequently written.  Complicating matters, Justices Kennedy and Alito each filed a separate concurrence, and Justice Thomas joined Justice Alito’s concurrence.

No matter how you slice it, the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel is a win for TNCs.  The Kiobel case will not proceed, and the Court announced new limitations on ATS claims.  Ironically, however, and despite the limitations imposed by the Kiobel majority, it is the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, which leaves the courthouse door open a bit and will likely be used by workers’ rights advocates in subsequent litigation.  Before explaining why, some background on ATS claims on behalf of workers is necessary.

The ATS, legislation enacted in 1789 and signed into law by George Washington, confers federal jurisdiction over “any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”  It was not until 1996, however, that suit was brought against a corporate defendant. That case involved the oil company Unocal, which was sued for allegedly aiding and abetting abuses by the Myanmar military, including the use of forced labor, committed in connection with the construction of a natural gas pipeline.  Although that case settled, subsequent ATS cases brought on behalf of workers include suits against: Bridgestone-Firestone on behalf of children and adults who work on Firestone’s rubber plantation in Liberia; Chiquita by the families of pro-union workers murdered by Colombian paramilitaries; Coca-Cola for the murder and torture of Colombian union leaders; Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland, and Cargill relating to the trafficking of Malian children into Cote d’Ivoire for work on cocoa plantations; and mining company Drummond, regarding its subsidiary’s alleged involvement with the torture and murder of Colombian trade union leaders.

In 2007, that last case, Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc., became the first ATS case against a corporation to reach trial.  Although the jury ruled against the plaintiffs, many TNCs and their advocates viewed the case as making real what had until then been a theoretical threat of corporate ATS liability.  The status of corporate ATS liability, however, is contested.  There is a split in the circuits that the Supreme Court had a chance to resolve in Kiobel.  Rather than do that directly, the Court addressed a different issue – the extra-territorial reach of the ATS in suits brought against any person, natural or juridical.

For the Kiobel majority, this is a simple case resolved by the presumption against extraterritorial application of a statute.  That well-known presumption provides that where Congress has not plainly expressed its intent that legislation apply beyond U.S. borders, the statute does not apply extraterritorially. Since the spare text of the ATS does not address the reach of the grant of federal jurisdiction for tort claims brought by aliens, the presumption, by barring claims such as those in Kiobel, precludes U.S. courts from creating conflicts with other nations and interfering with foreign policy.  That the tort claims mentioned in the ATS are those “committed in violation of the law of nations” does not, argued the majority, imply reach beyond our borders since violations of international law norms can occur on U.S. soil.  Indeed, two embarrassing incidents involving foreign ambassadors to the U.S. occurred just prior to passage of the ATS.  At the time, U.S. officials were concerned there might not be a sufficient forum for hearing those claims.

As for what it would take to displace the presumption, Chief Justice Roberts notes that all ATS claims must “touch and concern” U.S. territory with “sufficient force.”  Somewhat tantalizing, he opines that  “[c]orporations are often present in many countries, and it would reach too far to say that mere corporate presence suffices.”  Picking up on all that the majority opinion leaves unanswered, Justice Kennedy’s one paragraph concurrence notes that “the Court is careful to leave open a number of significant questions regarding the reach and interpretation of the [ATS].”

Rather than embrace the presumption against extraterritorial application, the liberal wing’s concurrence is driven by the principles of foreign relations law from which it draws international jurisdictional norms to determine when it is appropriate to apply U.S. law outside of U.S. territory. To that end, Justice Breyer, who wrote the concurrence, relies on the Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law.  The liberal concurrence argues that the statute provides federal district courts with jurisdiction not only when the torts occur in the U.S. but also when “the defendant is an American national” or “the defendant’s conduct substantially and adversely affects an important American national interest.”

While providing some useful language for workers’ rights advocates, there are two reasons I believe the liberal concurrence may be less helpful to them than the majority opinion coupled with Justice Kennedy’s concurrence.  First, there may be a tendency among American judges to shy away from foreign relations law and the Restatement Third when they might easily make use of a presumption rooted in domestic law, and, I might add, that presumption is embedded in a majority opinion.  Strategically, it may make sense for workers’ rights advocates to craft arguments using language that is familiar to American judges. 

Second, Justice Breyer's example of “an important American national interest” does not track the fact patterns of the ATS corporate cases very well.  His example is ensuring our country does not become a safe harbor for modern day pirates – those who commit heinous violations of international norms elsewhere and then seek safety on our shores.  In the corporate ATS cases, the actual commission of human rights violations is rarely performed by the TNC in question.  Gross human rights abuses in those cases usually have a direct connection to a foreign government.  The corporate liability, if it were to lie, is vicarious.  In short, the ill-fit of Justice Breyer’s example may limit the utility of the liberal concurrence leading to the irony that the more conservative majority opinion may ultimately be of greater use to workers’ rights advocates.  The Kiobel decision was a disappointment for workers’ rights advocates but it was not as bad a decision as it could have been.  The battle over corporate ATS liability continues, at least for now.

April 18, 2013 in Beltway Developments, Commentary, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Brown on Comparative Alternative Dispute Resolution for Individual Labor Disputes in Japan, China and the United States: Lessons from Asia?

Brown_RonaldRon Brown (Hawaii) has recently published in the St. John's Law Review (86 St. John's L. Rev. 843) his new article: Comparative Alternative Dispute Resolution for Individual Labor Disputes in Japan, China and the United States: Lessons from Asia?

Here is the abstract:

Resolving individual labor rights disputes in East Asia and the United States in recent years has taken on new significance and prominence for both domestic and multinational corporations.  New legal approaches have been put into place in Japan, China, and the United States that deal with individual rights under either individual and/or collective contract or statutory labor disputes. The United States Supreme Court has approved the use of private arbitration under individual and collective contracts to resolve both contractual and statutory labor disputes. How these approaches compare may provide thought of reform for the U.S., no matter how unlikely.

This area of the law is, needless to say, developing at lightening speed.  Having myself learned about how arbitration works in Japan during my travels there, I know that Ron's piece will shed much needed light on how other parts of the world rely on ADR to resolve their legal disputes.

PS

April 8, 2013 in Arbitration, International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Multinational H.R. Management

BookMatthew Finkin et al. have just published Multinational Human Resource Management And The Law: Common Workplace Problems in Different Legal Environments (Edward Elgar 2013).  Here's the publisher's description:

Multinational firms have to navigate employment laws in an array of countries, while individual nations have to deal with multinational firms. The educational challenge for managers, lawyers, and policy makers is taken up in this textbook by legal experts from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the United States, with each expert addressing the twenty commonly confronted human resource problems in detail. The book includes primary sources, comments, and discussion questions, providing both legal insight and an appreciation for the role of cultural assumptions in law.

rb

April 5, 2013 in Books, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Euro Employment Law

RegulatingRegulating the Employment Relationship in Europe: A guide to Recommendation No. 198 (April 2, 2013). 
Over the recent years, there have been increasing developments at the European level regarding the employment relationship in legislation, case law, collective agreements and soft law. In this context, the ILO, and in particular the then Industrial and Employment Relations Department (DIALOGUE) undertook a strategic partnership with the European Labour Law Network (ELLN), a network of independent legal experts from all European Union Member States and European Economic Area countries, to produce an updated version of the 2007 annotated Guide with a specific focus on European countries.

rb

April 5, 2013 in Book Club, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bisom-Rapp and Sargeant on Age Discrimination in the UK and US

Photo - Bisom-Rapp SargeantSusan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) and Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex U. Business School, UK) have just posted on SSRN page proofs for their article, Diverging Doctrine, Converging Outcomes: Evaluating Age Discrimination Law in the United Kingdom and the United States, which appears in the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal.  Susan just returned from a week in London, where she and Malcolm scoped out their newest project, centered on gender discrimination along the course of life, how it accumulates over time and disadvantages women not only as workers but as retirees.  Here's the abstract for the Loyola Chicago article:

This article compares age discrimination law and practice in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) to discern convergences and divergences in legal doctrine, the law's normative underpinnings, and societal outcomes. Each country at first blush appears to pursue age discrimination protection using a distinct model. Age bias law in Britain adheres to what might be termed the European approach. That approach, grounded in the EU's Framework Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation, is relatively recent in Britain, dating to October 2006. One distinguishing characteristic of UK law is the possibility of employer-justified compulsory retirement.

In contrast to the UK, the legal prohibition of age discrimination in the US is over four decades old, embodied in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The American approach prohibits compulsory retirement programs in order to combat negative, age-based stereotypes about when and how older workers should exit the labor market. Over time, however, US Supreme Court decisions have greatly weakened the ADEA's protections, making it difficult for plaintiffs to make out a prima facie case of age discrimination, making it easier for employers to defend against suit, and complicating the government's enforcement efforts. Also, aggressive corporate downsizing, very laxly regulated in the US, increasingly affects older workers, leaving them without employment at a point in their lives when finding replacement work is most difficult or for some impossible.

Despite what may appear as great doctrinal contrasts, however, the age discrimination laws of the UK and the US converge in many respects. Both systems view age stereotyping as an ill to be cured. Both countries ultimately provide for inferior legal protections against age discrimination as compared to other forms of prohibited workplace bias. Finally, both approaches to age discrimination render workers vulnerable in their later working years even though each nation's laws arguably arrive there by a different route.

This article argues that the deficiencies plaguing both systems are traceable to the incursion of a distinct economic imperative, applicable only to older workers, on what should be a civil or human rights approach to their treatment. Putting age on an even footing with other forms of bias – for example, race and sex – is necessary if the law is to eliminate the harm it seeks to redress.

Looks great, and I can't wait to see the follow-up piece, too.

MM

April 4, 2013 in Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bisom-Rapp on Why We All Should Go to Italy Next Spring

Susan PodiumWe posted here an announcement of the Eleventh Conference in commemoration of Prof. Marco Biagi.  The Conference, organized by the Marco Biagi Foundation, took place in Modena (Italy) on 18 and 19 March 2013.  Susan  Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) attended and presented, and I asked her to prepare a short description of the Conference for us, both to describe the Conference itself and also to talk about why the Conference might be of interest to American LEL professors.  Here's her report:

Every year since 2003, the Marco Biagi Foundation has hosted an international conference in Modena, Italy devoted to international and comparative employment and labor relations.  This year’s conference, The Transnational Dimension of Labor Relations: A New Order in the Making?, brought together scholars from Europe, Africa, and the Americas, who analyzed the challenges of regulating work, promoting labor standards, and addressing increasing economic inequality in the wake of the global economic crisis.  Particular attention was given to new forms of transnational collective bargaining, emerging hard and soft law techniques to influence the conduct of transnational corporations, the difficulty of establishing fair conditions of work for migrants, and the lack of a clear hierarchy of law-making authority at the international level.  Participants addressed these issues from a number of disciplines including law, industrial relations, economics, and human resource management.

Part of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Marco Biagi Foundation is also home to the International Doctoral Research School in Labour Relations, which promotes PhD work that is comparative and interdisciplinary.  To advance the work of its own students, and establish links with PhD and post-doctoral students around the world, the Foundation launched its Young Scholars’ Workshop last year.  This year, we heard and commented on papers from PhD students from Norway, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Austria, Estonia, and Hungary.  The chance to provide feedback from an outsider’s perspective – that of an American law professor – was fun for me and, I hope, helpful for them.  For me, this session has become a highlight of the annual conference.

Mike Zimmer (Loyola University Chicago) and I were first introduced to the Foundation’s annual conference in 2007 by our co-author Roger Blanpain (Universities of Leuven and Tilburg, Belgium and the Netherlands).  Roger, a prolific scholar in the field of comparative labor and employment law, attends most years, as do some of the most influential scholars in that field, including Manfred Weiss (J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany), Csilla Kollonay-Lehoczy (Central European University, Budapest, Hungary), Jacques Rojot, (University of Paris II – Panthéon Assas, France), Alan Neal (University of Warwick, U.K.), and Janice Bellace (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania).  The opportunity for conversations and exchange with these scholars and others has kept me coming back to Modena annually since then.  It has also led to my fruitful collaboration with Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex University Business School, London, U.K.), with whom I have written several articles on comparative age discrimination law.  Serving on the Foundation’s international council has helped me understand the challenges facing higher education in Europe. I recommend this kind of involvement to American legal scholars interested in a fresh perspective on the challenges and possible solutions to the problems we confront at home.  I only worry that in this age of austerity and shrinking travel budgets, it will become increasingly difficult for those in the American legal academy to participate in conferences outside our borders. Finding ways to do it may take some creative planning, but, at least in my experience, it will be well worth the effort.

Many thanks, Susan!

rb

March 21, 2013 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L., International Contacts, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rosado Marzan on Organizing Unions in the U.S. with International Framework Agreements

Rosado_Cesar_250pxCésar F. Rosado Marzán (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago - Kent College of Law) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming piece in the UC Irvine Law Review entitled: Organizing Unions in the U.S. with International Framework Agreements: An Exploratory Study. 

Here is the abstract:

Union density continues to decline, while income inequality continues to climb. But while union density falls we have experienced the counterintuitive rise in international framework agreements (“IFAs”), or agreements signed by global union federations (“global unions”) and multinational corporations. IFAs can be construed to contain employer pledges to not put obstacles on workers who want to organize. Can a global employer’s pledge to not oppose workers’ organization facilitate their unionization? In an exploratory fashion, I interviewed union and multi-national firms that signed IFAs to better comprehend how these novel agreements can aid the organization of workers. The results of this exploratory study show that the organizational inroads vary from nonexistent to very modest, even with the employers’ pledges not to oppose unionization. Economic and political obstacles seem to significantly hinder union organization even when the employers sign IFAs. The article concludes that even though the organizational results of the cases were not entirely positive, the cases suggest that unions that think creatively and experiment with the IFAs beyond mere neutrality pacts could counter the economic and political roadblocks to unionization. Therefore, the article provides hypotheses for further research to clarify how IFAs can be more effective organizing tools and for unions to experiment with the global agreements.

I really like how Cesar went to the proverbial horse's mouth to interview those involved in such agreements in Germany and other countries (during hsi research leave in Europe last year). I think his insights will be very helpful going forward in deciding whether IFAs can play a meaningful in the post-Wagner Model world we now find ourselves in.

PS

March 13, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Recently Published Scholarship: Comparative Labor Law & Policy J.

Comp

Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal
Volume 34, Number 2 - Winter 2013

Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have "Too Much" Power?

UNITED STATES

  • Jeffrey H. Keefe, A Reconsideration and Empirical Evaluation of Wellington's and Winter's, "The Unions and the Cities".
  • Martin H. Malin, Does Public Employee Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy? A Perspective from the United States

JAPAN

  • Kazutoshi Koshiro, Does Public Sector Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy in Japan?
  • Ryuichi Yamakawa, Japan's Collective Labor Relations Law in the Public Sector: Constitutional Conflict Between Union Rights and Democracy

FRANCE

  • Véronique Chanut and Jacques Rojot, Does Public Sector Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy - The Case for France

CANADA

  • Mark Thompson and Sara Slinn, Public Sector Industrial Relations in Canada: Does It Threaten or Sustain Democracy?


GERMANY

  • Berndt Keller, The Public Sector in the United States and Germany: Comparative Aspects in an Employment Relations Perspective
  • Jens M. Schubert, Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have "Too Much" Power? - The German Perspective

GREECE

  • Theodore N. Tsekos, Structural, Functional, and Cultural Aspects of the Greek Public Administration and Their Effects on Public Employees' Collective Action
  • Dimitrios Kremalis, Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have "Too Much" Power?

ITALY

  • Lorenzo Bordogna, Employment Relations and Union Action in the Italian Public Services - Is There a Case of Distortion of Democracy?
  • Adriana Topo, Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: The Italian Case

BOOK REVIEW

  • Shireen Ally, From Servants to Workers: South African Domestic Workers and the Democratic State, reviewed by Kelly I. Pike.

rb

March 9, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Information one the European Labour Law Network

EllnBernd Waas (Goethe U., Frankfurt) writes to tell us that the European Labour Law Network (ELLN) recently modified its website and joined facebook as well as twitter. Colleagues who are interested in receiving up to date information about legal developments both at the EU-level and the national level are invited to use the links in this post.

rb

March 5, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Labor Relations Internships at ADAPT in Italy

Adapt

From Michele Tiraboschi, ADAPT Scientific Coordinator:

ADAPT is pleased to announce that it will start the selection procedures for 3-to-6 month internships in Italy in the areas of labour law, industrial relations and HRM, which will be hosted by ADAPT or its partners.

If selected, interns will be provided full accommodation in a cosy apartment in the Upper Town of Bergamo (Italy) plus an allowance amounting to 400 Euros.

ADAPT is a non-profit organization set up by Marco Biagi in 2000 with the aim of promoting research in the field of Industrial and Labour Relations from a comparative and an international perspective. Our purpose is to encourage and implement a new approach to academic research, by establishing long-term relationships with other universities and advanced studies institutes, and promoting academic and scientific exchange programs with enterprises, institutions, foundations and associations.

Those interested in joining the ADAPT community through an internship might send their CV and a cover letter to selezione@adapt.it. A Brochure for ADAPT can be found here and the Brochure for International Doctoral School in Human Capital and Labour Relations can be found here.    

PS

February 28, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., International Contacts, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Zimmer and Bisom-Rapp on The Role of Canadian and American Scholarship in U.S. Labor Law Reform Debates

BisomrappzimmerMike Zimmer (Loyola Chicago) and Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) have just posted on SSRN page proofs for their article, North American Border Wars: The Role of Canadian and American Scholarship in U.S. Labor Law Reform Debates (Hofstra Lab. & Emp. L.J., vol. 30, No. 1, 2012-13). 

Susan reports that the article will also shortly appear in Italian as a book chapter, S. Bisom-Rapp & M. Zimmer, La Guerra di Confine Nordamericana: il Ruolo della Ricerca Canadese e Americana nel Dibattito sulla Riforma del Diritto del Lavoro Statunitense, in REGOLE, POLITICHE E METODO: L’EREDITÀ DI MARCO BIAGI NELLE RELAZIONI DI LAVORO DI OGGI (F. Basenghi, L.E. Golzio (a cura di), con la collaborazione di A. Russo, O. Rymkevich, I. Senatori, C. Serra, Giappichelli, Torino, 2013).  Susan and Mike presented their paper March 19, 2012 at the Tenth Annual Marco Biagi Conference at the University of Modena, Italy. 

Here is the abstract:

The economies of Canada and the United States and the organization of their societies are deeply interrelated but significant differences exist. This article briefly traces the interaction between the two countries in the development of labor relations laws with a particular emphasis on the impact of scholarly work on U.S. labor law reform debates in the last two decades. Instructive for that purpose is the work of Professor Paul Weiler, a prominent figure in labor law policy discussions in both countries. A significant architect of labor law in Canada, Professor Weiler came to Harvard Law School in 1978 and brought his experience and insights with him, rapidly becoming one of the foremost labor law scholars in the United States. His influence in the 1990s, and hence the influence of Canadian ideas, on the ultimately unsuccessful labor law reform proposals of President Clinton’s Dunlop Commission is widely recognized.

Professor Weiler’s proposals were once again the basis for scholarly and policy debate during the Obama Administration. This time, however, Canadian ideas and experience prompted a scholarly border skirmish. Recently, when new legislation – the Employee Free Choice Act – was proposed to Congress to implement a number of reforms of the National Labor Relations Act based on the Canadian experience, several U.S. academics argued that the actual Canadian experience where these reforms were in place resulted in higher unemployment and slower economic growth. Canadian labor scholars, fearing the corrosive effects of such critiques on their own labor relations regime, responded with rejoinders challenging the work of the American scholars. Clearly, and notwithstanding American provincialism, Canadian-influenced labor law scholarship has played a central role in U.S. policy debates, creating a favorable intellectual environment for labor law convergence. Yet the opponents of U.S. labor law reform also deploy scholarship aimed at the Canadian experience in order reinforce the divergent paths of the two systems, as do Canadian scholars acting defensively to forestall greater convergence of the Canadian regime to the U.S. model.

Check it out! Looks very interesting.

PS

February 28, 2013 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)