LAW 507

Labor Law and Social Policy

Public Interest Law

Requirements: four brief response papers and one research paper This seminar will will look at the changing nature of the employment relationship and its implications for labor and employment regulation. We will examine what has changed and look at some of the ramifications.  We will begin by studying the 20th century standard employment relationship, which can be characterized+ as a long term relationship between an employee and a firm in which the employee receives not only job security but also rising wages, promotion pathways, and a set of benefits that might include health insurance, pensions, sick leave, and other amenities.  In the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in the use of flexible work practices and a corresponding abandonment of long term employment relationships.  We will consider the extent to which our regulatory structure is based on the standard employment template.  We will then trace the demise of this standard form of employment.  The regulatory implications of the growth of gig and platform-moderated work, independent contracting, and artificial intelligence in the workplace will be discussed.  We will consider which aspects of the regulatory framework  including collective bargaining law, employment discrimination, and social insurance, need to be reconsidered in light of the changing nature of work. The seminar will meet weekly, with readings to be assigned. Students will be required to write brief response pieces to four of the weekly readings, and to prepare a research paper on a topic to be selected in consultation with the instructor. Please see the specific prerequisite requirements.

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