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Northwestern Law has a variety of Labor and Employment related offerings, including:

  • Labor & Employment Area Courses:
    • Labor Law
      • The course begins with an overview of U.S. labor history and the evolution of labor relations law. The central focus of the course examines the National Labor Relations Act from both policy and practical perspectives. Included among the topics that will be covered: the determination of who is an employee; protected concerted activity and employer responses to such activity; the means by which a union acquires the status of collective bargaining representative and the legal effect of attaining such status; the collective bargaining process and the rights and obligations of the parties during and after contract negotiations; the administration of the collective bargaining agreement; and labor protests, strikes, lockouts and secondary activity.  In addition, we will study current labor trends and consider recently enacted and proposed changes to existing labor relations policies and regulations.
      • During one or more classes, students will have the opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, experienced labor law practitioners from union and management as they assess, from their individual perspectives, current labor law policies and trends.  Finally, through the medium of film, students will have the opportunity to observe how labor law issues play out in a real-world setting.
    • Employment Law
      • This course is your entrée into the study of employment law.  It is a survey course that explores a broad range of common law and statutory doctrines affecting the rights of employees and employers in the contemporary labor market.  We will explore who the players are – employees, employers, independent contractors, and contingent workers — and the “stakes” involved in these classifications.  We will also study the employment-at-will doctrine; the tort and contract law incursions into this doctrine; and workplace privacy protections with constitutional, statutory, and common law bases.  Our coverage will include major federal anti-discrimination and workplace accommodation statutes,  including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
    • Entertainment Law
      • This Seminar is designed to acquaint the student with a number of the substantive areas of law applicable to the practice in the area generally identified as “Entertainment Law.” The course will involve substantive coverage of the following areas: copyright (including the concepts of parody and fair use), trademark, rights of publicity and privacy, defamation, reporters’ rights (including the topics of access to courts, Freedom of Information, and shield laws), advertising, protection of ideas by contract and the law of the Internet. For those who have taken or are taking Copyright Law, there will be some overlap but the coverage in this seminar will come from a different point of view.
    • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
      • This course analyzes the manifold forms of compensation and benefits employers provide to their executives and employees and the tax consequences of each to both the employer and employee. Among the topics addressed are stock options, restricted stock, phantom stock and other forms of equity-based compensation for public, private and tax-exempt employers, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, golden parachute and other contractual arrangements, and perquisites provided to employees, and compensation and benefits issues in bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions, and for multinational employers. Students will explore design strategies that achieve the objective of the employer and employees, while minimizing the tax burden to each.
    • Fourteenth Amendment
      • The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted after the Civil War, is the source of many rights now taken for granted. When State laws or practices are claimed to violate Due Process or Equal Protection, usually it is a reference to the 14th Amendment. This course will consider the historical background of the 14th Amendment and look briefly at its citizenship provision. Due Process, fundamental rights and interests and Equal Protection are major themes. Consideration will be given to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, alienage, disability and race.
    • Immigration Law
      • This course surveys immigration and citizenship law in the United States. The core issues at stake in this course – the boundaries of political membership and the systems for managing migrant populations – play a significant role in many areas of the law and present fundamental challenges to the United States in the twenty-first century. We will examine the entry, presence, expulsion, and naturalization of noncitizens, and the content and significance of U.S. citizenship and nationality, from a variety of perspectives: historical and contemporary; procedural and substantive; constitutional, statutory, and regulatory. Specific topics will include Congress; plenary power over immigration; the interaction between immigration and federalism; the constitutional rights of noncitizens; the criteria for the admission of noncitizens on a temporary or permanent basis; the grounds for exclusion and deportation; the rules governing adjustment of status; the law governing refugees and asylum; and the ongoing Comprehensive Immigration Reform debate. Throughout the course, we will consider the major theoretical questions underlying immigration law: What are the different ways of defining citizenship? What defines membership in a political community? How should the rights of citizens and non-citizens differ? Should our conceptions of citizenship and membership change in an age of substantial migration and globalization? When is it appropriate to force non-citizens to leave the United States? Are there any moral constraints on the state’s interest in controlling its borders? How does immigration law intersect with the United State’s role/power in the world?
    • Feminist Jurisprudence
      • This course examines feminist legal theory in an effort to: (i) analyze how the law constructs gender; and (ii) apply the theory to various substantive areas of law and social policy. Among the topics covered are rape, prostitution, pornography, intimate and familial relationships, wealth distribution, the workplace, reproductive rights, and regulation of sexuality.
    • Disability Law Seminar
      • More than 50 million Americans have disabilities, even as the population just begins to age significantly.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 as a key civil rights law to help persons with disabilities obtain access to employment, government facilities and programs at all levels, transportation and most public accommodations.  The ADA was amended in 2008 to overrule several Supreme Court decisions that had unduly restricted the Act, and to enable persons with disabilities to bring their cases to court more easily.  This seminar will explore how our disability laws have succeeded or failed to fulfill their promise.  Through analysis of case law, topical articles and guest appearances, we also will examine closely the 2008 amendments to the Act in this evolving, dynamic area of the law.  Each student is expected to select a topic of particular interest to him or her, perform an in-depth review of the law related to that topic, and write a paper on the subject.  The instructors will work individually with each student to prepare a final paper. Students¿ progress will be tracked through class discussion, informed reaction papers and individual sessions with the instructors (Judges Robert Gettleman and Jeffrey Gilbert of the Northern District of Illinois; and Hillary Coustan, counsel at Agrawal Evans LLP and adjunct  faculty member at Loyola University Chicago Law School).
    • ERISA and Employee Benefits
      • This course introduces the student to employee benefit plans, with a focus on employer-sponsored retirement and healthcare plans.  The course also introduces students to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal law that regulates non-governmental employee benefit plans in the US.  Topics include tax rules related to qualified retirement plans, taxation of health plans (including the impact of the 2010 healthcare reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act), ERISA rules related to private investment funds, employee benefit matters in M&A, and ERISA fiduciary concerns related to pension investments and selection of 401(k) plan investment options.
  • Past members have worked at federal agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and competed at national Labor & Employment moot court competitions.