Employment Law

Survey of Employment Law (L4706)

This course will provide a broad overview of the field of employment law. It begins with an exploration of the employee/employee relationship and the “at will” rule. It then addresses various constitutional, statutory, and common law doctrines that tend to be applied to the employer/employee relationship, often as exceptions to the “at will” rule. Contract, tort, and anti-discrimination doctrines will be covered, as well as constitutional doctrines addressing free speech and privacy in the workplace, and regulatory regimes addressing wages and hours. Finally, this Course will explore the post-employment relationship, including trade-secrets and non-competition agreements. These topics will be addressed at both a theoretical and a practical level.

Employment Law – Benefits (L4205):

This course is a statute and case law course designed to introduce students to Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the important federal law that controls the design and operation of virtually all employee benefit plans. The course is intended to provide students with an understanding of the application of ERISA and how ERISA issues arise in business and private law practice. The classroom scenarios include lecture, problem solving and role playing to identify the kinds of experiences students are likely to experience in private practice.

Employment Law in the New Economy (L4024):

This seminar focuses on employment issues that arise in technology and information-based companies, particularly disputes about the ownership of intangible property. The course covers employee restrictive covenants, trade secret law, and employee inventions. It also considers broader trends among new economy companies, such as the decline in long-term employment, the growing use temporary labor, reductions in employer-provided benefits, and the changing role of labor unions. (Prerequisites: Survey of Employment Law)

Workers’ Compensation (L4680):

The course covers employment-related injuries. Administrative practice before compensation boards, and issues concerning the relationships between standard litigation and administrative remedies are analyzed.

Employment Law and Business Planning:

This seminar considers contemporary employment law from a corporate perspective. It examines how employment issues influence business decision making and how employers structure the workplace to ensure legal compliance and manage risk. Topics include anti-harassment policies and investigations, internal and external dispute resolution programs, executive employee contracts, changes in corporate structure, layoffs, and employee resignations.

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Employment Discrimination Law

Employment Discrimination Law (L4650):

This course concerns federal constitutional and statutory law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, including regulation of both private employers and the federal government. The course covers theoretical issues, such as the definition of equality and practical problems involving the complex procedural requirements of the applicable statutes.

Advanced Topics in Anti-Discrimination Law (L4039):

This seminar allows students who have already been exposed to anti-discrimination law to go into further depth in this area in order to explore its cutting edge issues. The seminar’s initial focus will be on (1) why and how we protect certain groups in the employment context, and (2) concepts of intent and causation in disparate treatment law (i.e., what exactly does it mean to say that an employer “intentionally” discriminated or that the employer discriminated “because of” an employee’s race or sex), as well as methods of proving intent and causation. It will also deal with intent and causation in the area of sexual harassment. However, the remainder of the seminar will be largely driven by the students’ interest, as students will select their own paper topics and make multiple presentations to the other students on those topics. So a broad spectrum of topics tends to be addressed. The student papers in this course will be of the academic variety. That is, they will need to go beyond simply summarizing black letter law or doctrine; they will require original thought, such as understanding trends, analyzing, or critiquing current doctrine. The papers will be 20-30 pages. Students will turn in a detailed outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. Completion of this paper will satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement. (Prerequisites: A course in Employment Law or Employment Discrimination Law though not necessary, is highly suggested. In some cases, other courses or experience will suffice. Admission to this course is by permission of the instructor.)

Gender and the Law (L4260)

The course is based on sex-discrimination materials, especially those found in the Constitution and civil rights and employment laws. It emphasizes a feminist analysis relating to speech issues and theoretical approaches. It also gives an historical perspective leading into reproductive rights. Next, it addresses women’s sexuality issues including rape, incest, and prostitution, and provides an analysis of the social construction of heterosexuality. Finally, it explores the impact women have in the legal profession.

Disability Law (L4202):

This class outlines legal issues concerning persons with disabilities. It pays special attention to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The course may include some practical exercises, such as complaint drafting or other applications of the substantive law.

Sexual Orientation and the Law (L4543)

This seminar offers an opportunity for students to study the relationship between law and sexual orientation. Historically, law in this country consistently and pervasively regulated the realm of human identity and behavior we call sexuality. However, questions and claims challenging traditional assumptions about sexual orientation have surfaced in the last twenty-five years. Our study of sexual orientation and law allows students to view the relationship between law and society through a new lens, that of sexual orientation. Specifically, students examine issues of sexual orientation arising in areas ranging from Constitutional law, criminal law, employment law, family law, health law, immigration law, to tax law. They discuss some or all of the currently controversial issues relating to sexual orientation and law. This includes such topics as the proliferation of both nondiscrimination laws and anti-gay initiatives like Amendment 2 in Colorado; the Constitutionality of laws prohibiting specified sexual behavior between different-sex and same-sex adults; the Constitutionality of laws limiting the right to speak about sexual identity, public and private employment; and discrimination against same-sex couples with respect to marriage, parenting, health benefits, and taxes.

Labor/Civil Rights Law Seminar (L4356)

This seminar includes several readings surrounding doctrines of labor and employment law that deal with the issue of race. Readings are in the area of Critical Race theory and Civil Rights. (Prerequisites: Survey of Employment Law and Labor Law )

Race and Civil Rights (L4510)

Does the continued consideration of race in making law and social policy move us closer to achieving equality and social justice for all? This is one of the themes which is explored in this course. The class addresses the role of race in the areas of employment, housing, voting rights, education and criminal law.

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Labor Law

Labor Law (L4355):

Labor Law provides a background of modern labor relations law and union pressures with a historical review of the laws that shape this field. Laws covered include the National Labor Relations Act; National Labor Management Relations Act; Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959; Civil Rights Act of 1964; employer unfair labor practices; union unfair labor practices; internal affairs of labor organizations; collective bargaining and settlement of labor disputes; and state labor legislation. Also, it explores employer and union labor practices and manners in which disputes concerning these practices may be resolved.

Labor Law in Spanish (L4208):

An introduction to the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), with an emphasis on unfair labor practices committed by employers and unions. Major sections of the Act as well as relevant cases and materials will be reviewed. The course will cover both investigatory and litigation strategies in the area of labor law. Trial and evidentiary issues that arise in connection with the preparation and trial examination of monolingual Spanish-speaking witnesses will be covered.

Ley de Sindicatos (L4208):

Una introducción a la Ley Nacional de Relaciones de Trabajo (la Ley), con un énfasis en practicas ilícitas de trabajo cometidas por empleadores y uniones. Secciones mayores de la Ley al igual que casos y materiales pertinentes serán examinados. El curso cubrirá ambas estrategias investigatorias y de litigación en la área de la ley laboral. Enfasis en cuestiones de juicio y evidenciarías que surgen en conexión con la preparación y examinacion en juicio de testigos monolingües de habla español.

Sports Law (L4545)

The course studies the legal problems of professional athletics. It applies the application of contract law, antitrust, labor law and income tax to the functioning of a professional league. The question of governmental regulation of professional sports is a constant focus of students’ work. Special attention is given to the impact of these questions on negotiating players’ contracts.

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Clinical Offerings

Civil Rights Clinic (L4809):

The Civil Rights Clinic provides services to clients in matters involving civil rights and liberties violations. Students in this clinic represent clients before courts and civil administrative agencies in a broad range of civil and human rights matters, including discrimination based on disability, race, gender, religious, age, and national origin discrimination; as well as constitutional law issues.

Civil Litigation Clinic (L4805)

Students in the Civil Litigation Clinic address pressing community legal problems through individual and group representation as well as projects designed to tackle systemic issues. Cases often include employment problems faced by immigrant day laborers in wage claims, contract disputes, anti-discrimination claims, or injury claims. The different types of cases and venues provide students exposure to a broad skill set including interviewing, counseling, negotiation, trial advocacy – both formal and informal, and research and writing. Because students work in teams and with community partners, they also improve their collaboration skills. The community projects have included successful passage of a state law designed to increase the penalty for non-payment of wages, successful passage of a city ordinance to make it illegal to fail to pay wages, advocacy designed enhance the effectiveness of administrative remedies for the non-payment of wages; and the development of classes on the legal rights and remedies of subcontractors and immigrant day laborers in Colorado.

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