Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Cynthia Estlund will speak February 28 at Case Western School of Law on the issue: Is workplace self-governance a New Deal idea whose time has passed, or is it a solution to pressing contemporary problems? Her talk will focus on the relationship between the workplace and democracy. As union representation and collective bargaining have declined, employment regulations, rights and litigation have proliferated, and employees must assert themselves to make sure their rights are protected, says Estlund. "In response, firms have put in place internal compliance and dispute resolution systems that aim to, and sometimes do, deflect regulation and litigation. If employees continue to be shut out of these self-regulatory systems, the result may be a disguised form of deregulation. But if employees can gain an effective voice in these systems, the result could be improved regulation and a revival of workplace self-governance."
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The University of Illinois College of Law Program in Comparative Labor & Employment Law will host Dr. Colin Fenwick, who will speak on "Of Corporations and Enterprise Workers: An Introduction to Australia's New Labor Laws." Dr. Fenwick is Director of the Centre for Employment and Labor Relations Law at the Melbourne Law School. The presentation will be Friday, February 24, at noon.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
From Elizabeth Gorman, whose presentation at the University of Virginia I blogged yesterday:
[T]he excerpt in the blog stops with the mention of male partners' ingroup preference, when actually the bulk of the talk--and my description of my own research--focused on bias due to schema-based thinking, which can affect both male and female partners. For example, I discussed my article in the American Sociological Review, which found that firms that use more stereotypically masculine hiring critera have higher proportions of men among their new hires, while firms that use more stereotypically feminine hiring criteria have higher proportions of women among their new hires. Schema- and stereotype-biased thinking is the more pervasive and subtle process and probably has more extensive effects on women lawyers' careers (and on those of other professionals and managers).
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Law firms that have greater proportions of male partners and that value stereotypically male characteristics may be less likely to hire and promote female candidates, according to U.Va. sociology professor Elizabeth Gorman, who spoke at a talk sponsored by Virginia Law Women Feb. 15.
According to November 2005 data provided by the National Association for Law Placement, women comprise approximately 48 percent of law students, almost 48 percent of summer associates, and about 44 percent of associates, but only 17 percent of partners. In analyzing this discrepancy, Gorman said she wanted to evaluate the allocation of opportunities, including getting hired, receiving work assignments as an associate, and making partner.
Gorman identified three processes “that can tend to produce an advantage for men in obtaining opportunities.” The first process is based on individual lawyers’ decisions and self-selection, rather than firm-based choices. “In other words, one reason that women might not be hired as often as men, might not get the same assignments or as good assignments as men, might not be promoted to partner at the same rate as men is that the[ women] themselves are opting not to seek those opportunities.”
Second, men may actually be better lawyers. However, there is little evidence that men have stronger skills or abilities out of school. “In fact if anything, it looks the other way—in recent years women have had higher law school grades on average than men,” she said.
The third process involves partners’ cognitive biases in perceiving and evaluating associates. According to Gorman, psychologists have identified two relevant types of biases: in-group preference and schema-based thinking. In-group thinking is an us-versus-them mentality based on characteristics including gender, race, nationality, and more. Laboratory work has found that people tend to feel more comfortable with members of their in-group, finding them more trustworthy and cooperative. “If we apply that then to the law-firm context, all that suggests that partners who are men may tend to show some favoritism towards male associates,” Gorman said. “It may not be conscious, it may not be deliberate at all, it may be just at automatic feeling of being more comfortable with them, and this might be especially true if whatever opportunity is being allocated involves working together.”
Thursday, February 9, 2006
Today and tomorrow, I am in Baton Rouge at LSU attending the Examining Privacy in the Workplace Conference (see previous post announcing the conference here).
Professor Finkin spoke about privacy protections for employees outside of the workplace from a comparative law perspective. In particular, he talked about the more significant privacy protections (referred to as "personality interests") that employees in Germany and France have outside of the workplace and how such conceptions can help shape off-duty work privacy protections for employees in the United States.
Professor Fisk spoke about employee autonomy at work, and in particular, in the area of dress code regulations. She provocatively suggested that dress code regulations should be analyzed under privacy law rather than anti-discrimination law. Specifically, Professor Fisk proposed a new tort for protecting at-work autonomy which balances employee interests in workplace autonomy against legitimate employer business interests.
More updates to follow.
For those interested in learning more about the history of the ADA, its current interpretation by the courts, and where ADA jurisprudence is heading in the future, this is a wonderful opportunity to become more knowledgeable about all things ADA.
Check it out!