May 31, 2012
Employee Handbook Version 2.Awesome
I've been meaning to post about this for awhile, and teaching the unit on U.S. Employment Law to my summer students gives me the perfect opportunity. Earlier this spring, the employee handbook from Valve, a gaming company, was floating around the blogs and twitter. It's unusual in that it doesn't talk about the kinds of things we're all used to seeing in handbooks--no policies (exactly), description of benefits (in the usual sense), or disciplinary structure. Instead, it's an introduction into a workplace culture that at least portrays itself as flat (no hierarchy), with work driven by each worker and projects developing organically. The handbook is useful for a couple of things--first as a breath of fresh air, it shows alternative work arrangements might look like. Also, I think I have some serious job envy, although in a lot of ways, it describes what our jobs as law profs are like. Second, it would be a great platform to talk about all of those contract issues that employee handbooks usually raise (sort of the anti-Hoffmann-LaRoche handbook that Rachel Arnow-Richman, Denver, uses to teach transactional skills in employment law), or other issues, like the fact that the figures and cartoons of employees show almost no women, and no people of color, male or female. Anyway, here's the pdf version: Download Valve_Handbook_LowRes
May 29, 2012
Spring 2012 Newlsetter for University of Denver Workplace Law Program
One of the top workplace programs in the United States these days is run by the good folks at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Not only do they have top-notch faculty in many of the specific areas of labor and employment law, but they continue to take the lead in teaching, scholarship, and experiental learning opportunities.
Rachael Arnow-Richman, the director of the Workplace Law Program at DU Law and pictured left, sends along their Spring 2012 Newletter to fill us in on all of the labor and employment law going-ons. Of note, two nationally-recognized labor and employment law scholars, Nicole Porter (Toledo) and Michael Duff (Wyoming), will be visiting law professors during parts of the 2012-2013 academic year at DU Law.
March 07, 2012
Second Edition of The Global Workplace with Teacher's Manual
On behalf of her co-authors, Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) announces the publication on March 14th of the Second Edition of The Global Workplace – International and Comparative Employment Law: Cases and Materials.
The authorial team is the same as the First Edition: Roger Blanpain, Susan Bisom-Rapp, Bill Corbett, Hilary Josephs, and Mike Zimmer. The second edition will appear in the U.S. as an Aspen publication and in Europe, it will appear under the Kluwer Law International imprint.
Susan tells us that one of big challenges of producing the Second Edition was grappling with the global economic crisis, which is therefore featured prominently in this edition. Of course, there have also been many legal changes since the first edition was published in 2007. The authors have also completed the Teacher’s Manual, which runs about 250 pages.
You can find the Aspen press release here.
I used the First edition on numerous occasions for both teaching and research purposes and have always found it a great help in assisting my understanding of how the labor and employment law regimes of other countries operate. I look forward to seeing the new edition.
February 09, 2012
LEL Student Writing Competition
Laura Cooper (U. Minn & Co-Editor, ABA J. LEL) sends us this note about a student writing competition:
Students at American law schools are invited to submit articles on labor and employment law to the 2012 Student Writing Competition sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The possible prizes include $1500 for first place, $1000 for second place, and $500 for third place. The winning article will be published in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. Manuscripts must not exceed twenty pages, double-spaced, and must be submitted no later than 6:00 p.m. EDT, May 15, 2012. Here are the complete competition rules.
January 10, 2012
Peggy Browning Fund Application Deadline
The Peggy Browning Fund Fellowship Program application deadline is this Friday, January 13, 2012. The fund supports 2012 summer fellowships in labor-related organizations throughout the United States, and 2012-2013 School-Year Fellowship that is a part-time position in Chicago. Students can apply online.
December 19, 2011
LEL a "Hot" Practice Area, Once Again
The legal marketplace may stink generally, but students with an interest/focus on labor/employment law have a leg up. The National Jurist, describing the results of the Robert Denney Associates Annual Market Report on the legal profession, says that the following are the hottest practice areas now: Banking, Health Care, Energy, Intellectual Property, White Collar Crime, Regulatory work, Financial Services, Cyber Crime, Labor & Employment law, and Immigration. This is at least the second year in a row that LEL has been "hot".
Louis Jackson Competition Deadline Approaching
Marty Malin (Chicago-Kent) sends this reminder:
As you sit there grading those seminar papers, I’d like to remind you of the Louis Jackson Memorial National Law Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law.... Entries are due January 17, 2012. Entries are blind-judges by a national panel of labor and employment law professors. (If you are interested in serving in future years, drop me a line.) First place is $3,000; two second place awards of $1,000 each. Additional information is available here. So, as you come across good papers, please encourage the students who wrote them to enter them in the competition.
November 17, 2011
LEL Research Chair at Queens
Kevin Banks (Queen's U. - Kingston, Ontario) sends word that Queen's is seeking applications for a Tier II Canada Research Chair. Fields of interest include labour and employment law. Contact Kevin for more information.
September 14, 2011
Class on Labor and Employment Issues in the Health Care Industry
I am considering putting together a course or seminar on labor & employment law issues in the health care industry, and I was wondering if a course like that is offered anywhere?
My list of potential topics includes, among others,
1. special treatment of unions in the industry regarding how unions organize, appropriate bargaining units, the right to strike, etc.
2. unionization of doctors in HMOs, and of interns and residents generally (i.e., are they students or employees?)
3. "conscience rules" re: employees who don't want to provide abortion services, fill birth control or morning after pill prescriptions, etc.
4. hospitals as federal contractors for affirmative action purposes
5. whistle blower protection for blowing the whistle on poor patient care, or on medicare fraud, etc.
6. FLSA protection (or not) for interns, residents, nurses, home health workers, etc.
7. doctors' hospital privileges
8. non-compete clauses and other employment law issues in doctors' practices
9. OSHA issues in hospitals, e.g., infectious disease regs, lifting injuries, exposure to toxics, etc.
10. medical staff governance and bylaws.
I'm interested in finding out what if any topics I should have on my list but don't, and what if any syllabi or teaching materials may be out there.
If you have ideas or materials to share, you can contact Michael at email@example.com
August 05, 2011
More on Faculty Hiring Age Discrimination Case
Rick posted earlier this week about the age discrimination suit against Michigan State Law School by Nicholas Spaeth, former Rhodes Scholar, Justice White clerk, and North Dakota Attorney General. The National Law Journal and the ABA's Weekly e-Journal provide more information for us and provide a link to the complaint.
Mr. Spaeth filed EEOC charges against more than 100 law schools that did not interview him at the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference last fall. Some of those charges are still pending. This is the first action in court that Mr. Spaeth has brought.
As pointed out in the discussion Jeff Lipshaw began at Prawfsblawg, this will likely be a challenging case, although the complaint does a pretty good job at focusing on three comparators--the candidates hired by Michigan State. The complaint alleges that Mr. Spaeth was more qualified than the three in prestige of the law school he went to, his academic achievements, his clerkship, and his practice experience. He also alleged he had more teaching experience with three years as an adjunct and one year as a visitor, whereas the others had fewer years of teaching experience. He further alleges that he had a better scholarly record, alleging that the three hired had not published a traditional law review article before they were selected to interview but that:
He edited the American Indian Law Deskbook and authored numerous other publications. He filed over forty amicus briefs with the United States Supreme Court and argued groundbreaking cases before the United States Supreme Court on three separate occasions. He also delivered a paper at the Kremlin comparing the U.S. and Soviet legal systems; published a major task force study addressing the process of choosing federal judges; wrote a series of internal papers on credit risk, interest rate risk, and the mortgage crisis for the Federal Home Loan Bank System; and published many other articles in newspapers and legal publications.
Mr. Spaeth also made several allegations about what the school should have considered to be important qualifications for the particular subjects it hired for.
I think Mr. Spaeth has a difficult case to make for a number of reasons, mostly tied to the fact that this is an age case rather than a case about a different protected class, but also tied to the peculiarities of faculty hiring. Age cases are especially challenging because the plaintiff has to prove that age, and not just something correlated with age, was the but-for reason for the employer's decision. So if an employer preferred recent graduates, that by itself isn't age discrimination under Hazen Paper Co. v. Biggins, because older people can be recent graduates. Moreover, there are so many non-discriminatory reasons that schools can assert in part because considerations include somewhat fluid assessments of "soft skills" (curricular fit, personality fit with the current faculty, personality fit with current students, likelihood of involvement with local organizations, potential for future scholarship, etc.) that it may be difficult to show pretext. Plus, the sheer numbers of FAR forms plus the limited information on the form itself will create problems for plaintiffs. Most schools only look at those forms to decide who to interview. If the form does not reflect curricular fit, a scholarly record, or something to suggest a high potential for future scholarship, the chances of a candidate getting interviews is very slim, no matter how otherwise impressive their credentials or practice experience.
For what looks like a stronger case, based on my superficial read, see Paul Caron's post on the suit by Donald Dobkin against the University of Iowa for age discrimination under Iowa's Civil Rights Act for disparate treatment and disparate impact. The state trial court in Iowa denied the University's motion for summary judgment just this week.
Most of us don't think of ourselves as employers, but we really are. For the most part, when law schools hire new faculty, they choose based on who we choose. So we need to think about what criteria we use. This lawsuit should be a great motivator for more of us to start talking about what law professors do, what makes a good law professor, what skills we need, and what experiences best predict good future performance. These are certainly discussions going on internally for at least some institutions and they animate the law school scam narrative currently so popular. They also animate the debate over law school job security and reporting standards, and the ever-present US News rankings. The more we can publicly articulate what matters, the less likely we will be (we hope) to engage in what at least may look like discriminatory behavior, and the better we'll be able to stand up to the kind of hostile public scrutiny that we are all experiencing right now.
July 08, 2011
AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Mentoring Program
Sandra Sperino (Cincinnati) writes to tell us of a mentoring program organized and administered by Colleen Medill (Nebraska) for the Section on Women in Legal Education of the American Association of Law Schools. Here is the announcement:
Opportunities for finding a mentor
At different stages of their careers, individuals may need different types of mentoring. Mentoring needs could be in teaching, in scholarship development, or with work-life issues and experiences. Therefore, a "onesize fits all needs for all times" approach to mentoring has proven difficult to implement in the past.
The Section on Women in Legal Education's Mentoring Program takes a different approach to traditional mentoring. The Section's program is structured as an "a la carte" program. The volunteer mentors and their expertise and experiences are listed on the Mentoring Program website. Individuals who desire mentoring are encouraged to contact directly any volunteer mentor on the list who matches the individual’s particular mentoring need(s). Mentors are available to give assistance and advice concerning teaching, scholarship and work-life issues. The URL for the site is: http://law.unl.edu/wile.
Professor Colleen Medill at the University of Nebraska administers theweb site and serves as the chair of the Mentoring Program. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may contact Colleen if you want assistance infinding a "match" for the type of mentoring you are seeking.
The Mentoring Program Committee currently is working to develop the web site, publicize it, and expand the list of mentors. The members of the Mentoring Program Committee are: Colleen E. Medill, Chair (Nebraska); Marina Angel (Temple); Michelle Simon (Pace); Jennifer Hendricks(Tennessee); Sandra Sperino (Cincinnati); Melissa Marlow (Southern Illinois); Nicole Huberfeld (Kentucky); Kerri Stone (Florida International);and Ruth Jones (Pacific).
The Section's Mentoring Program and the web site are a work in progress. If you have suggestions for the web site and improving the quality of the program, please contact any member of the Mentoring Program Committee.
The Section also is looking for individuals who want to be mentors. If you would like to be a mentor, please contact Colleen Medill for a Volunteer Mentor Application Form. Colleen can be reached at email@example.com.
This is a wonderful approach to mentoring and a great service to our community. And it's nice to see so many workplace profs helping to make it a reality.
April 17, 2011
A New Take on Edward Budd Mfg.
David Foley has done another really nice animation over at LaborRelated, this time about Edward Budd Mfg. v. NLRB. Check it out!
March 30, 2011
UNLV Law's Faculty Resolution on ABA Standards
Resolution of the Faculty of the Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Regarding Proposed Changes to Existing ABA Standards Regarding Security of Position, Academic Freedom, and Attraction and Retention of Faculty
The Standards Review Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (“Committee”) has proposed substantial changes to ABA Standards 206, 405, and 603. These changes would dramatically reduce the ABA’s longstanding commitment to a system of tenure and of security of position for law school deans, traditional faculty, clinical faculty, legal writing faculty, and librarians. Specifically, the proposed changes would weaken or eliminate the
(1) Standard 206(c) mandate of tenure for law school deans;
(2) Standard 405(b) requirement of an established tenure policy for traditional faculty;
(3) Standard 405(c) mandate of security of position for clinical faculty members;
(4) Standard 405(d) mandate of security of position for legal writing faculty; and
(5) Standard 603(d) support for security of position for directors of law libraries.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas faculty vigorously opposes these proposed changes and adopts the following resolution opposing them, based on the resolution originally formulated by Georgetown University Law Center, on the grounds that they would:
(1) Undermine the quality of legal education;
(2) Undermine academic freedom in the legal academy;
(3) Undermine faculty governance in the legal academy; and
(4) Undermine the movement at UNLV to bring clinical law professors, legal writing professors and the library director into full membership in the academy.
I have a feeling these are just the first shots fired in this important debate occuring at law schools across the country. I, for one, believe in strong standards that support academic freedom and faculty governance and I hope the ABA will consider the views of law faculties like UNLV.
March 20, 2011
NKU-Chase Wins Wagner
Congratulations to Lawrence Hilton (left) and Chris Allesee (right) of NKU-Chase for winning the 2011 Robert F. Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition at New York Law School. Chris Allesee also won best oralist. The team was coached by Lawrence Rosenthal. Wilma Liebman presided over the final-round bench.
March 19, 2011
NKU-Chase v. Mississippi College in Wagner Finals Tomorrow
Congratulation to the teams from NKU-Chase and Mississippi College, who will meet in the final round of the Robert F. Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition at New York Law School. The round will be streamed live at 2:00pm tomorrow (Sunday) at the link above.
March 18, 2011
A Snapshot of Labor / Employment Professors
Attendees of the Fifth Annual Colloquium on Labor and Employment Scholarship in St. Louis last fall might recall my lunchtime presentation on the demographics of (and demographic changes in) teachers of law school labor / employment law. I received a lot of terrific feedback at the Colloquium, and have incorporated many of the suggestions into the final article.
The article, A Data-Driven Snapshot of Labor and Employment Law Professors, is now available for downloading on SSRN. Some of the findings surprised me. Here's a summary of the findings:
- The teaching of Labor Law is declining and the teaching of Employment Law is rising.
- Men dominate the teaching of Labor Law, but women have mostly narrowed the gap in Employment Law.
- The other courses taught by Labor/Employment Law faculty members are highly sex segregated. For example, Employment Law faculty members who also teach Family Law or Property are overwhelmingly likely to be women, and Employment Law faculty members who also teach Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, or Contracts are overwhelmingly likely to be men.
- Both Labor and Employment Law faculty members are more prevalent in top-tier law schools than in bottom-tier law schools; in the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Midsouth regions than in other regions of the country; and in large metropolitan areas than in rural areas.
March 17, 2011
Good luck to all competing in this weekend's 35th Annual Robert F. Wagner Labor and Employment Law Competition!
January 24, 2011
Georgia State Wins National Arbitration Competition
Congratulations to the Georgia State Arbitration Team (left), who defeated the NKU Chase Arbitration Team (right) in the final round of the American Bar Association National Arbitration Competition on Saturday in Chicago. The problem set for the competition involved an employment arbitration agreement. Doug Yarn coached the Georgia State team; I coached the NKU Chase team.
December 17, 2010
Kentucky Seeks Labor Law Visitor
Alvin Goldman (emeritus - Kentucky) sends word of an endowed Visiting Professorship in Labor Law available next year at UK. Here are the details:
The University of Kentucky College of Law seeks applications and nominations for the James and Mary Lassiter Endowed Distinguished Visiting Professor for one semester of the 2011-12 academic year. The Lassiter Distinguished Visiting Professor recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in his or her field and is not limited by subject matter. Applicants or nominees should have a record of scholarly excellence and of strong classroom teaching. The Lassiter Distinguished Visitor will teach one or two courses and will be encouraged to present workshops on research and participate broadly in the intellectual life of the College of Law.
Review of candidates will begin upon receipt. Expressions of interest and nominations should be submitted no later than January 22, 2011 and should be directed to Mary J. Davis, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chair of Lassiter Committee.
November 15, 2010
The Dearth of Recent Labor Law Films
We posted last year on film clips that were useful for illustrating labor law points in class. Bill Herbert (NY PERB) sends us a link to a Sunday Times article that may explain the problem in trying to find new films on the subject. The explanation:
[B]lue-collar characters and their concerns have all but disappeared from mainstream movies....
Interviews with a dozen former studio executives, producers, directors, screenwriters and academics confirmed that, while still admired, films focusing on working-class characters like “Norma Rae” and “Silkwood” are considered so last century. Even 10 years ago “Erin Brockovich” only got the go-ahead after Julia Roberts signed on to star.
“Right now the perception in Hollywood is that what the audience most wants is distraction from their daily lives,” said the veteran producer Douglas Wick, whose credits include “Working Girl” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”