Monday, October 6, 2014

SEALS call for participants

SEALS 2015The Southeastern Association of Law Schools holds its annual meeting every summer at the end of July/beginning of August, and planning for next year's programming has started. For the past several years, a workshop for labor and employment law has taken place over several of the days. Michael Green (Texas A & M) is helping to organize the workshop for next summer. If you are interested in participating, feel free to get in touch with him: mzgreen@law.tamu.edu. Some suggestions already made include panels or discussion groups on whistleblowing, joint employer issues, termination for off-duty conduct (including recent NFL scandals), disability and UPS v. Young, and a junior scholars workshop.

One additional piece of programming already proposed is a discussion group on attractiveness issues in Employment Discrimination cases. Wendy Greene is helping to organize it, so get in touch with her if you are interested in participating on that topic.

And regardless of whether you get in touch with Michael or Wendy, you should think about proposing programming for the annual meeting if you are at all interested and regardless of the topic. The meeting is surprisingly (because of the lovely environs) substantive, and the environment is very relaxed and is designed to be egalitarian.  Here are the details:

The SEALS website www.sealslawschools.org is accepting proposals for panels or discussion groups for the 2015 meeting which will be held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club http://www.bocaresort.com/  Boca Raton, Florida, from July 27 to Aug. 2.  You can submit a proposal at any time.  However, proposals submitted prior to October 31st are more likely to be accepted.

This document explains how to navigate SEALS, explains the kinds of programs usually offered, and lays out the rules for composition of the different kinds of programming: Download Navigating submission. The most important things the Executive Director emphasizes are these:  First, SEALS strives to be both open and democratic.  As a result, any faculty member at a SEALS member or affiliate school is free to submit a proposal for a panel or discussion group.  In other words, there are no "section chairs" or "insiders" who control the submissions in particular subject areas.  If you wish to do a program on a particular topic, just organize your panelists or discussion group members and submit it through the SEALS website.  There are a few restrictions on the composition of panels (e.g., panels must include a sufficient number of faculty from member schools, and all panels and discussion groups should strive for inclusivity).  Second, there are no "age" or "seniority" restrictions on organizers.  As a result, newer faculty are also free to submit proposals.  Third, if you wish to submit a proposal, but don't know how to reach others who may have an interest in participating in that topic, let Russ Weaver know and he will try to connect you with other scholars in your area.

MM

October 6, 2014 in Conferences & Colloquia, Disability, Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination, Faculty News, Faculty Presentations, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Pension and Benefits, Public Employment Law, Religion, Scholarship, Teaching, Wage & Hour, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Round-up of Last Term

Just in time for the beginning of this Term, which, as Marcia suggests may be a blockbuster, Jonathan Harkavy has posted 2014 Supreme Court Employment Law Commentary on SSRN.  It contains not only useful nuetral summaries of the opinions but also, in separate italicized sections,  the author's personal take on the decisions -- often in with a dash a humor.

CAS  

October 3, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mastering Labor Law

Mastering Labor LawA bit of self-promotion: Carolina Academic Press has just published Mastering Labor Law, by Paul Secunda, Anne Lofaso, Joe Slater, and yours truly.  Although it can be of interest to anyone, it's specifically geared to law students and practioners who want a helpful guide to the basics of labor law. One unique aspect--as you can gather from Joe Slater's presence on the author list--is that it also includes a significant amount of public sector labor law.  

-JH

September 23, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Employer Compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act: Recent Study

How well do firms comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act?  Not as much as you might think.  That's the finding of a recent paper: Amy Armenia, Naomi Gerstel, and Coady Wing, "Workplace Compliance with the Law: The Case of the Family and Medical Leave Act," Work and Occupations 41(3) (2014): 277-304.  Here's the abstract:

Using the 2008 National Study of Employers to analyze employers’ compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we show that prior studies have overestimated compliance due to the treatment of missing values and incomplete definitions of the FMLA. Using partial identification methods, we estimate that FMLA compliance among firms with 50 or more employees in the private sector is at least 54.3% and at most 76.8%. We also look at organizational characteristics that predict compliance, noncompliance, and nonresponse. This analysis suggests that firms with missing data are more similar to noncompliant than compliant firms and that nonresponse may indicate organizational defiance of policy.

Among other things, the authors find that organizations are more likely to comply with FMLA-mandated maternity leaves than with other FMLA requirements.

 

--Sachin Pandya

 

September 20, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barocas and Selbst on Big Data's Disparate Impact

Solon Barocas and Andrew D. Selbst have posted "Big Data's Disparate Impact," which focues on the relationship between big data mining and Title VII.  Here's the abstract:

Big Data promises to replace faulty intuitions with facts, granting employers, advertisers, manufacturers, and scientists access to richer, more informed, and less biased decisionmaking processes. But where data mining is used to aid decisions, it has the potential to reproduce existing patterns of discrimination, inherit the prejudice of prior decisionmakers, or simply reflect the widespread biases that persist in society. Sorting and selecting for the best or most profitable candidates means generating a model with winners and losers. If data miners are not careful, that sorting can create disproportionately adverse results concentrated within historically disadvantaged groups in ways that look a lot like discrimination.

This Article examines the operation of anti-discrimination law in the realm of data mining and the resulting implications for the law itself. First, the Article steps through the technical process of mining data and points to different places where a disproportionately adverse impact on protected classes may result from what may seem like innocent choices on the part of the data miner. Decisions such as how to transform a problem into one that a computer can solve, how much data to collect and where to collect it, and how to label examples of "good" and "bad" outcomes, are all decisions that can render data mining more or less discriminatory. Alternatively, in a hypothetical case of perfectly executed data mining, enough information will be revealed so as to accurately sort according to pre-existing inequities in society. A disparate impact resulting from this second option would merely reflect an unequal distribution of the sought-after traits in the world as it stands as of the time of data collection.

From there, the Article analyzes the disproportionate impacts due both to errors and reflections of the status quo under Title VII. The Article concludes both that Title VII is largely ill equipped to address the discrimination that results from data mining. It further finds that, due to problems in the internal logic of data mining as well as political and constitutional constraints, there is no clear way to reform Title VII to fix these inadequacies. The article focuses on Title VII because it is the most well developed anti-discrimination doctrine, but the conclusions apply more broadly as they are based on our society’s overall approach to anti-discrimination.

A related working paper by Sarocas, "Data Mining and the Discourse of Discrimination," is available here.

 

--Sachin Pandya

 

September 11, 2014 in Employment Discrimination, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Disability and the Law Writing Competition

TJSL logoMy TJSL colleague Susan Bisom-Rapp would like to share the following about a new writing competition:

 

Thomas Jefferson School of law is pleased to announce the inaugural Jameson Crane III Disability and the Law Writing Competition. Made possible by the generous gift of Thomas Jefferson School of Law alumnus Jameson Crane III, the Crane Writing Competition seeks to encourage outstanding student scholarship at the intersection of law and medicine, or law and the social sciences. The competition promotes an understanding of these topics, furthers the development of legal rights and protections, and improves the lives of those with disabilities.

The competition is open to currently enrolled law students, medical students, and doctoral candidates in related fields who attend an accredited graduate program of study in the United States. Submitted papers may be on any topic relating to disability law, including legal issues arising with respect to employment, government services and programs, public accommodations, education, higher education, housing, and health care.

Submissions will be judged anonymously by an independent panel of experts. The winner of the competition will receive a $1,500 cash prize and the Thomas Jefferson Law Review (TJLR) will consider the paper for publication under the TJLR’s editorial standards. Two second place winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize.  Preference for these additional winners will be given to submissions from disciplines not represented by the grand prize winner.

All submissions must be submitted electronically to: cranewritingcompetition@tjsl.edu. All entries must be received by midnight, Pacific Standard Time, January 15, 2015. Winning submissions will be announced by April 15, 2015.  

For further details, please consult the competition webpage: http://www.tjsl.edu/cranewritingcompetition. Please distribute this information broadly so that we may reach as many eligible students as possible. Questions may be directed to Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp, who will be coordinating the competition: susanb@tjsl.edu

 

RKL

September 10, 2014 in Disability, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Call for Papers: "Applied Feminism and Work"

Scholarly writingDeborah Thompson Eisenberg (Maryland) sends along this call for papers from the University of Baltimore's Center on Applied Feminism:

CALL FOR PAPERS: "APPLIED FEMINISM AND WORK"

The University of Baltimore School of Law's Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year's theme is "Applied Feminism and Work."  The conference will be held on March 5 and 6, 2015.  For more information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.

As the nation emerges from the recession, work and economic security are front and center in our national policy debates.  Women earn less than men, and the new economic landscape impacts men and women differently.  At the same time, women are questioning whether to Lean In or Lean Out, and what it means to "have it all."  The conference will build on these discussions. As always, the Center's conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change.  The conference seeks papers that discuss this year's theme through the lens of an intersectional approach to feminist legal theory, addressing not only the premise of seeking justice for all people on behalf of their gender but also the interlinked systems of oppression based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, immigration status, disability, and geographical and historical context.

Papers might explore the following questions:  What impact has feminist legal theory had on the workplace? How does work impact gender and vice versa?  How might feminist legal theory respond to issues such as stalled immigration reform, economic inequality, pregnancy accommodation, the low-wage workforce, women's access to economic opportunities, family-friendly work environments, paid sick and family leave, decline in unionization, and low minimum wage rates?  What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure equal employment opportunities that provide for security for all?  How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state and the private sector in relation to work?  Are there rights to employment and what are their foundations?  How will the recent Supreme Court Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn decisions impact economic opportunities for women?  How will the new EEOC guidance on pregnancy accommodation and the Young v. UPS upcoming Supreme Court decision affect rights of female workers?

 The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories.  We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to work and to move new insights into practice.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers.

 The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a workshop.   This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection.   On Friday, March 6, 2015, the conference will continue with a day of presentations regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health.   The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar, and NOW President Terry O'Neill.

 To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on October 31, 2014, to ubfeministconference@gmail.com.  It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached.  In the "Re" line, please state:  CAF Conference 2015.  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November.  We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 6, 2015. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review.  Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume.  Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication.  Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of symposium-length or article-length papers will be due no later than February 13, 2015.   Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism's conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees.   Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate, as well as meals.

 We look forward to your submissions.  If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at majohnson@ubalt.edu.

MM

August 29, 2014 in Conferences & Colloquia, Faculty Presentations, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bisom-Rapp and Sergeant on Age and Gender in the US and UK

Bisom-Rapp & SargeantSusan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) and Malcolm Sargeant (University of Middlesex Business School) have posted on SSRN the page proofs for their article, It’s Complicated: Age, Gender, and Lifetime Discrimination Against Working Women – The United States and the U.K. as Examples, forthcoming at 22 Elder L.J. 1 (2014). From the abstract:

This article considers the effect on women of a lifetime of discrimination using material from both the U.S. and the U.K. Government reports in both countries make clear that women workers suffer from multiple disadvantages during their working lives, which result in significantly poorer outcomes in old age when compared to men. Indeed, the numbers are stark. In the U.S., for example, the poverty rate of women 65 years old and up is nearly double that of their male counterparts. Older women of color are especially disadvantaged. The situation in the U.K. is comparable.

To capture the phenomenon, the article develops a model of Lifetime Disadvantage, which considers the major factors that on average produce unequal outcomes for working women at the end of their careers. One set of factors falls under the heading “Gender-based factors.” This category concerns phenomena directly connected to social or psychological aspects of gender, such as gender stereotyping and women’s traditionally greater roles in family caring activities. A second set of factors is titled “Incremental disadvantage factors.” While these factors are connected to gender, that connection is less overt, and the disadvantage they produce increases incrementally over time. The role of law and policy, in ameliorating or exacerbating women’s disadvantages, is considered in conjunction with each factor, revealing considerable incoherence and regulatory gaps. Notably, the U.K.’s more protective legal stance toward women in comparison with the U.S. fails to change outcomes appreciably for women in that country.

An effective, comprehensive regulatory framework could help compensate for these disadvantages, which accumulate over a lifetime. Using the examples of the U.S. and the U.K., however, the article demonstrates that regulatory schemes created by “disjointed incrementalism” – in other words, policies that tinker along the margins without considering women’s full life course – are unlikely to vanquish systemic inequality on the scale of gender-based lifetime discrimination.

Interesting findings.

MM

August 25, 2014 in Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L., Pension and Benefits, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Call for Papers Reminder: AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law

AALS logo imageJust a friendly reminder that the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law is accepting abstracts for papers to be presented as part of its program at the 2015 Annual Meeting.  The submission deadline is September 1, 2014.  Here is the full announcement:

Call for Papers

 

AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law

 

"Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety"

 

2015 AALS Annual Meeting

 

January 2-5, 2015

 

Washington, DC

 

The Executive Committee of the AALS Labor Relations and Employment Law Section is seeking abstracts for papers to be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  The section program is entitled Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety.  The papers will be published in the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published by ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The program will focus on the emotional aspects of the employment relationship during uncertain economic times.  Many individuals are currently experiencing a greater range and intensity of emotions at work, both as employees and as employers, due to heightened anxiety and pressures.  Are these emotions in the workplace openly recognized and managed, and if so, how?  In what ways should employment law or workplace policy address these concerns?  A panel of leading scholars already committed to present will provide a multidisciplinary perspective on these questions.  We are seeking one additional speaker who will present on a relevant topic, and we particularly encourage new voices to submit a paper abstract.

The Labor Relations and Employment Law Section program will take place on Monday, January 5, 2015 from 10:30am to 12:15pm.  The program is co-sponsored by the Section on Socio-Economics.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 400 words and a resume to Section Chair Rebecca Lee at rlee@tjsl.edu by September 1, 2014.  The author of the selected abstract will be notified before October 1, 2014.

RKL

August 12, 2014 in Conferences & Colloquia, Faculty Presentations, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Areheart & Stein on the Disability/Employability Divide

AreheartBrad MasteiBrad Areheart (Tennessee) and Michael Stein (William & Mary) have posted a new article on SSRN: The Disability/Employability Divide: Bottlenecks to Equal Opportunity, forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review. From the abstract:

Joseph Fishkin’s new book, Bottlenecks, reinvigorates the concept of equal opportunity by simultaneously engaging with its complications and attempting to simplify its ambitions. Fishkin describes bottlenecks as narrow spaces in the opportunity structure through which people must pass if they hope to reach a range of opportunities on the other side. A significant component of the American opportunity structure that is largely unexplored by Bottlenecks relates to people with disabilities. This review applies Fishkin’s theory to explore how disability law and its regulations create and perpetuate bottlenecks that keep people with disabilities from a greater degree of human flourishing. In particular, the opportunity structure of disability policy features a conceptual employability/disability divide that ultimately prevents people with disabilities from passing into a wider array of opportunities. Fishkin’s book, in concert with this review, prompts new and inventive ways of reimagining and implementing structural solutions to these bottlenecks.

Looks like a good read.

MM

August 1, 2014 in Disability, Employment Discrimination, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chamallas on Vicarious Liability in Tort and Title VII

Martha Chamallas has posted “Two Very Different Stories: Vicarious Liability Under Tort and Title VII Law,” forthcoming in the Ohio State Law Journal.  In it, she argues against reading the common law of vicarious liability into Title VII.   Here’s the abstract:

Without much analysis, the U.S. Supreme Court has imported common law agency and tort principles to resolve issues of employer vicarious liability under Title VII. The story that emerges from the recent Title VII case law is one of similarity and continuity: the main theme is that Title VII is a statutory tort, making it seem appropriate to rely on longstanding common law agency principles to determine employer responsibility for the wrongful acts of their employees. 

This article contests the prevailing narrative, arguing that it significantly downplays major differences in the structure and history of tort and Title VII claims. Borrowing from tort law is misguided because vicarious liability principles were never meant to govern claims by employees against their own employers. Instead, at common law, the infamous “fellow servant rule” insulated employers from tort liability in such suits, with vicarious liability coming into play only when injured third parties sought recovery. Unlike the dual liability scheme of tort law – which holds both the employer and the offending employee liable – Title VII claims may be brought only against the employer. The enterprise liability scheme of Title VII thus bears little resemblance to the prototypical vicarious liability structure in tort law. 

The Supreme Court’s approach has lost sight of historical workers’ rights struggles which led to the enactment of comprehensive workers’ compensation statutes. By recasting Title VII as the second major intervention into the employer/employee relationship, this article tells a very different story – one of contrast and change – that would free Title VII vicarious liability doctrine from the strictures of the common law.

 

--Sachin Pandya

July 29, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Karin and Runge on Breastfeeding and Employment Law

Marcy Karin and Robin Runge have posted “Breastfeeding and a New Type of Employment Law,” forthcoming in Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 2 (2014).  The paper focuses on section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, codified at 29 U.S.C. 207(r).  Here’s the abstract:

Buried deep within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is section 4207, a little-noticed provision that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide protections for some women to express milk at work. Section 4207 borrows concepts from existing labor standards and employment discrimination laws to offer job-protected break time and space-related accommodations for breastfeeding purposes. Unlike these prior employment laws, however, these protections are designed to achieve public health goals for a relatively small subgroup of individuals: non-exempt working women who choose to express milk for children under the age of one. The use of employment law to promote public health is not novel, but the decision to place breastfeeding protections in this framework must be considered within the larger context of employment law. 

In its examination of this new law, this Article places section 4207 in the broader civil rights context and examines how legislation aimed to achieve goals outside the civil rights context may still nonetheless effectively address historical discrimination and societal oppression. The employment provisions of this new law represent a shift away from traditional labor standards designed to improve employment conditions for all workers and traditional employment discrimination provisions used to address historic discrimination. Its unique combination of protections and its focus on one particular class of workers facilitates the consideration of whether the government should enact workplace legislation to promote healthcare-based conduct. This Article considers, and ultimately rejects, the incorporation of limited employment rights that place symbolic requirements — without more — on employers for a public health purpose.

 

--Sachin Pandya

July 27, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Disability Accommodations: Recent Study

As lawyers fight over an employer’s duty to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a recent paper on employer accommodation practices finds, among other things, that disability accommodations may benefit co-workers and employers as well as the disabled worker: Lisa Schur et al., “Accommodating Employees With and Without Disabilities,” Human Resources Management (published online July 1, 2014).  Here’s the abstract:

Efforts to recruit and retain employees with disabilities are often tempered by employers’ concerns over potential workplace accommodation costs. This study reports on accommodations requested and granted in intensive case studies of eight companies, based on more than 5,000 employee and manager surveys, and interviews and focus groups with 128 managers and employees with disabilities. Two unique contributions are that we analyze accommodations for employees without disabilities as well as for those with disabilities, and compare perspectives on accommodation costs and benefits among employees, their coworkers, and their managers. We find people with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to request accommodations, but the types of accommodations requested and the reported costs and benefits are similar for disability and non-disability accommodations. In particular, fears of high accommodation costs and negative reactions of coworkers are not realized; all groups tend to report generally positive coworker reactions. Multilevel models indicate granting accommodations has positive spillover effects on attitudes of coworkers, as well as a positive effect on attitudes of requesting employees, but only when coworkers are supportive. Consistent with recent theorizing and other studies, our results suggest the benefits from a corporate culture of flexibility and attention to the individualized needs of employees.

The eight employers in the study were a pharmaceutical company, a hospital, a disability service organization, a financial services company, a consumer products manufacturer, a supermarket chain, a restaurant, and an infrastructure services company.  According to the authors, the study’s findings “on the value of accommodations should help address potential employer concerns about accommodation costs, which historically has been one of the perceived barriers to the employment of individuals with disabilities.”

--Sachin Pandya

July 23, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Job Applicants and Criminal History: Recent Legislation in Illinois and the District of Columbia

    Illinois is the latest State to enact “ban the box” legislation, i.e., legislation that restricts when an employer can ask a job applicant about his or her criminal history.  (The “box” is the one on a job application to answer the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”) Twelve States now have such legislation on the books, as will over sixty counties and cities.

    The Illinois legislation—which takes effect next year—provides that, absent certain exceptions, an employer “may not inquire about or into, consider, or require disclosure of the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant until the applicant has been determined qualified for the position” and the employer either has told the applicant that it has selected her for an interview or has made her a conditional offer of employment.  The Illinois Department of Labor is the enforcer here—there’s no provision in the bill for a private right of action.

    Meanwhile, the District of Columbia’s city council has also passed a “ban the box” bill and sent it to the mayor for his signature.  That bill prohibits employers from asking about, or asking a job applicant to reveal, "any arrest or criminal accusation made against the applicant, which is not then pending against the applicant and or which did not result in a conviction."  Employers can ask about criminal convictions but only after making a conditional offer of employment. Like the Illinois legislation, the D.C. bill makes the D.C. Office of Human Rights the exclusive enforcer here—there’s no private right action.

    Among its other features, the D.C. bill provides that if the employer extends a conditional offer, checks the applicant’s criminal history, and then rescinds that offer, and if the applicant believes that the employer did that “on the basis of a criminal conviction,” the applicant can, upon request, get from the employer, within thirty days, “a copy of “any and all records procured by the employer in consideration of the applicant or employee, including criminal records.”  In June, the bill had also required that employer to give the applicant a written “statement of denial” that identified the employer’s “legitimate business reason” for its action.  Failing to provide that statement would have triggered a rebuttable presumption that the employer had no “legitimate business reason” for its action.  The D.C. Chamber of Commerce opposed this provision, and in mid-July, the bill was amended to remove it.

     Since 2012, the EEOC has opined that, under some circumstances, employer use of a job applicant’s criminal history may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  For an entry point into the research on how much a job applicant’s criminal history matters, see, for example, Devah Pager, Bruce Western, and Naomi Sugie, “Sequencing Disadvantage: Barriers to Employment Facing Young Black and White Men with Criminal Records,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 623 (May 2009): 195-213.  

    The next puzzle on the horizon: Figuring out how and how much these “ban the box” statutes actually affect employer hiring.

 

 --Sachin Pandya

 

Hat tip: R. Michael Fischl

July 21, 2014 in Employment Discrimination, Labor and Employment News, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gleeson on Immigration Status and Labor Enforcement Agencies

If Salas v. Sierra Chemical has you thinking more about inquiries into a plaintiff-worker’s immigration status in workplace rights enforcement, you might be interested in a recent paper on the labor enforcement agency’s views on this question:  Shannon Gleeson, “Means to an End: An Assessment of the Status-blind Approach to Protecting Undocumented Worker Rights,” Sociological Perspectives (published online April 3, 2014) (here).  Here’s the abstract:

This article applies the tenets of bureaucratic incorporation theory to an investigation of bureaucratic decision making in labor standards enforcement agencies (LSEAs), as they relate to undocumented workers. Drawing on 25 semistructured interviews with high-level officials in San Jose and Houston, I find that bureaucrats in both cities routinely evade the issue of immigration status during the claims-making process, and directly challenge employers’ attempts to use the undocumented status of their workers to deflect liability. Respondents offer three institutionalized narratives for this approach: (1) to deter employer demand for undocumented labor, (2) the conviction that the protection of undocumented workers is essential to the agency’s ability to regulate industry standards for all workers, and (3) to clearly demarcate the agency’s jurisdictional boundaries to preserve institutional autonomy and scarce resources. Within this context, enforcing the rights of undocumented workers becomes simply an institutional means to an end.

 

  --Sachin Pandya

July 19, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hiring Discrimination and Religion: Recent Studies

    Although hiring discrimination by employers is infrequently litigated, audit studies—using fictional resumes—continue to show that it persists.   A recent contribution to this literature focuses on religious affiliation: Michael Wallace, Bradley R.E. Wright,  and Allen Hyde, “Religious Affiliation and Hiring Discrimination in the American South: A Field Experiment,” Social Currents 1(2) (2014): 189-207 (here).  Here’s the abstract:

This article describes a field experiment in which we sent fictitious résumés to advertised job openings throughout the American South. We randomly altered the résumés to indicate affiliation in one of seven religious groups or a control group. We found that applicants who expressed a religious identity were 26 percent less likely to receive a response from employers. In general, Muslims, pagans, and atheists suffered the highest levels of discriminatory treatment from employers, a fictitious religious group and Catholics experienced moderate levels, evangelical Christians encountered little, and Jews received no discernible discrimination. We also found evidence suggesting the possibility that Jews received preferential treatment over other religious groups in employer responses. The results fit best with models of religious discrimination rooted in secularization theory and cultural distaste theory. We briefly discuss what our findings suggest for a more robust theory of prejudice and discrimination in society.

For a companion study, see Bradley R.E. Wright et al., “Religious Affiliation and Hiring Discrimination in New England: A Field Experiment,” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 34 (Dec. 2013): 111-126.

 

--Sachin Pandya

July 17, 2014 in Employment Discrimination, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On the Origins of Title VII's Sex Amendment

    In the most recent issue of The New Yorker, Louis Menand has this essay on how “sex” got added to the list of protected characteristics in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The standard story: The “sex” amendment was an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the entire bill—a failed poison pill.  In contrast, Menand emphasizes how that amendment was partly the result of vigorous efforts by women activists—in particular, Alice Paul of the National Women’s Party—and some female House representatives, especially Michigan Democrat Martha Griffiths.

    Menand is openly borrowing here from scholars, including Carl Brauer, “Women Activists, Southern Conservatives, and the Prohibition of Sex Discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “ Journal of Southern History 49(1) (1983): 37-56, and Jo Freeman, We Will Be Heard: Women’s Struggles for Political Power in the United States (Rowan & Littlefield, 2008) (chapter 12).  On the origins and durability of the “failed poison pill” story, see Rachel Osterman, “Origins of a Myth: Why Courts, Scholars, and the Public Think Title VII’s Ban on Sex Discrimination Was an Accident,” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 20 (2009): 409-440.  In the courts, a fleeting recent reference to this literature appears in Nelson v. James H. Knight DDS, 834 N.W.2d 64, 74 n.8 (Iowa 2013) (Cady, J., concurring specially).

 

---Sachin Pandya

July 16, 2014 in Employment Discrimination, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Call for Papers: 2015 Marco Biagi Conference

Scholarly writingSusan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) writes to let us know that the Marco Biagi Foundation has put out calls for papers for the 2015 annual conference on labor relations March 19-20, 2015, in Modena Italy.

There is a general call for papers  Download MARCO BIAGI CONFERENCE MARCH 2015, and a call for papers from newer scholars  Download Call YSW 2015. The topic of the conference is Employment Relations and Transformation of the Enterprise in the Global Economy, and for the general call for papers, the foundation invites papers focusing on one of four tracks:

  1. Organisational structure of the enterprise and the fragmentation of the employer’s role and responsibilities
  2. Employment relations in ‘special’ enterprises
  3. Small and medium-sized enterprises in a global context: relations, interests, protection
  4. Collective solidarity and the representation of interests in the context of recent developments in regulatory provisions and the dematerialisation of the enterprise

Participants who intend to contribute a paper to one of the conference sessions should submit an abstract (maximum 1500 words) no later than 31 October 2014, and fill in the form that will be made available from September 2014 on the Marco Biagi Foundation website: www.fmb.unimore.it

Abstracts should include an indication of the related track. However, the Academic Advisory Board reserves the right to assign papers to the track they consider to be most appropriate.

Abstracts and papers may be submitted either in English or in Italian.

In order to be included in one of the conference sessions, full papers need to be submitted to the conference organisers no later than 13 February 2015. 

Download the call for papers or visit the website for more details.

The Young Scholars Workshop will take place on the afternoon of March 18. 

Abstracts should describe research projects that fall within the field of Labour relations from one of the following disciplinary perspectives: law, industrial relations, labour economics, organization theory, human resources management. Special consideration will be given to those topics and original research projects that allow for an interdisciplinary dialogue involving two or more of these disciplines, and that show a specific concern for international and/or comparative issues.

Scholars willing to participate in the workshop should submit a 1,000 word abstract along with a resume, including educational and academic career, publications, and contact information, no later than 31 October 2014.

Please submit the abstract electronically (in English). The preferred format for submission is Microsoft Word.

Abstracts should include the paper title and a bibliography, and should make specific reference to disciplinary field, academic affiliation of the author, research question(s), methodology and main results achieved.

The working language of the workshop will be English, some authors may be selected for a poster presentation instead, and some conference expenses will be covered for one author of papers and posters accepted. See the call for more details.

MM

July 8, 2014 in Conferences & Colloquia, Faculty Presentations, International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Call for Papers

AalsRebecca Lee, Chair of the AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law sends along the following call for papers:

AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law

"Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety"

2015 AALS Annual Meeting

January 2-5, 2015

Washington, DC

The Executive Committee of the AALS Labor Relations and Employment Law Section is seeking abstracts for papers to be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The section program is entitled Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety. The papers will be published in the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published by ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The program will focus on the emotional aspects of the employment relationship during uncertain economic times. Many individuals are currently experiencing a greater range and intensity of emotions at work, both as employees and as employers, due to heightened anxiety and pressures. Are these emotions in the workplace openly recognized and managed, and if so, how? In what ways should employment law or workplace policy address these concerns?

A panel of leading scholars already committed to present will provide a multidisciplinary perspective on these questions. We are seeking one additional speaker who will present on a relevant topic, and we particularly encourage new voices to submit a paper abstract.

The Labor Relations and Employment Law Section program will take place on Monday, January 5, 2015 from 10:30am to 12:15pm. The program is co-sponsored by the Section on Socio-Economics.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 400 words and a resume to Section Chair Rebecca Lee at rlee@tjsl.edu by September 1, 2014. Authors of selected abstracts will be notified before October 1, 2014.

Looks like a great opportunity and a good program.

MM

July 7, 2014 in Conferences & Colloquia, Faculty Presentations, Labor and Employment News, Scholarship, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Schaefer on Putting Professionalism in the Classroom

SchaeferPaulaSmThis is not directly a labor and employment law paper, but it should be of interest to those of us who teach these and other classes.  Paula Schaefer (Tennessee) has posted on SSRN her article, A Primer on Professionalism for Doctrinal Professors, which be published in the Tennessee Law Review   The absract:

Legal education reform advocates agree that law schools should integrate “professionalism” throughout the curriculum. Ultimately, it falls to individual professors to decide how to incorporate professionalism into each course. This can be an especially difficult task for doctrinal professors. The law — and not the practice of law — is the focus of most doctrinal casebooks. Law students typically do not act in role as lawyers in these classes, so they are not compelled to resolve professional dilemmas in class, as students would be in a clinic or simulation-based course. As a result, it takes some additional preparation and thought to introduce professionalism issues into these courses. Some professors may resist making this change — not knowing which aspect or aspects of professionalism should be the focus, fearing that time spent on professionalism will detract from the real subject matter of the class, or believing professionalism is adequately covered elsewhere in the curriculum. 

This Article considers how and why doctrinal professors should address the challenge of integrating professionalism into the classroom. Part I briefly discusses the multitude of meanings ascribed to attorney professionalism and argues that the lack of a clear, concise, and shared definition is a substantial barrier to effectively incorporating professionalism into the law school curriculum. Next, Part II provides a more coherent, streamlined definition of attorney professionalism. This Part also identifies and describes three primary aspects of lawyer professionalism: fulfilling duties to clients, satisfying duties to the bar, and possessing core personal values essential to being a good lawyer. This simplified conception of professionalism should begin to address the concerns of professors who do not know where to begin to incorporate professionalism into their classes. It is also intended to persuade skeptics that professionalism is something they can and should teach as part of their doctrinal classes. 

Thereafter, Part III provides guidance for developing course outcomes that connect course subject matter and professionalism. Questions prompt doctrinal professors to look for the natural connections between their course subject matter and issues of professionalism. Then, Part IV considers various methods doctrinal professors can use to introduce professionalism topics into their courses. Integrating professionalism into the classroom does not require professors to abandon their casebooks; using case law can be an effective method. This Part also considers other teaching methods and materials for combining doctrine, skills, and professionalism. Finally, Part V concludes with thoughts on how students benefit when professors make the effort to incorporate professionalism into every law school classroom.

Check out the article--it's really useful, especially for folks like me who still get chills thinking about the MPRE.

-JH

June 24, 2014 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)