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Law Courses Catalog

Law of Global Labor Markets

  • Typically offered every other year

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 


This class examines some of the myriad ways the globalization of labor markets creates new issues for companies, employees, and lawyers. One set of problems arises in the working conditions in global supply chains. Compliance issues arising from the interaction between corporate codes and other private ordering devices, and international labor and human rights recognized in various international labor conventions, treaties, and declarations, carry reputational and “brand” costs.  Conditioning trading rights on compliance with minimum labor and human rights standards in the treaties of the European Union, the NAFTA and the TPP, and in bilateral agreements such as the U.S.- Cambodia textiles agreeement, is also explored. The impact of “host” country law on operations abroad is examined with emphasis on the role of the U.S. lawyer and human resources managers. The seminar also explores the extraterritorial  application of U.S. law in such areas as employment discrimination, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Alien Tort Claims Act. The global labor markets also create immigration issues of law and policy concerning both “documented” workers under guest  worker visa and other programs, and on the rights of “undocumented” workers under U.S. laws. Finally, the seminar will explore various ways legal work formally done by lawyers in the U.S., is now done abroad, and the potential for U.S. lawyers to lower costs to clients by embracing the globalization of legal services.  The seminar will meet once a week for two hours to discuss weekly assigned readings. 

Students will make one 30 minute presentation, and write a 15-30 page paper, which may also satisfy either the WIE or Capstone Writing Requirement.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

This course focuses on the evolving law relevant to world-wide labor markets. Minimum international labor standards issues will be discussed (including child labor, forced labor, denial of organizing rights, and free association, and discrimination). Regional labor standards under such arrangements as the European Union treaties and the North American Free Trade Agreement will be studied. Additionally, some comparative labor and employment law issues applicable in transnational arrangements and arising from the law of nation-states will be studied. Extra-territorial application of U.S. laws abroad will also be taken up, as well as international employment arbitration and other issues relating to dispute resolution.

The course grading option is as follows:

1. FIRST OPTION: Students may elect to be graded solely on the basis of a 3 hour, open schedule, open book final examination, but with the following conditions: a. Students may receive a one-half grade upward adjustment in the professor’s sole and unfettered discretion for insightful and beyond the ordinary contributions to class discussion, and faithful completion of assigned readings and attendance at class, OR b. Students may receive a downward adjustment of their grade for chronic non-attendance or lack of preparation for class, again in the professor’s sole and unfettered discretion, and with advance written notice to the student that the student is in danger of falling into this category.

2. SECOND OPTION: Students may elect to do a paper for a part of their grade, including but not limited to a Capstone or WIE paper, on a topic related to the course subject matter and approved by the professor. Students electing this option must also do a 10-15 minute presentation on their paper topic and thesis to the class. The paper must be completed by the 10 week of the class. For students electing this option, the paper/presentation will count for 2/3 of the student’s course grade, with the other 1/3 of the course grade being based on the Final Examination and class attendance, preparation, and participation, as described above for Option One.

3. The student must elect the FIRST OPTION, OR THE SECOND OPTION, no later than the third class meeting day.

Meets the Capstone or WIE writing requirement