Labor & Employment Law

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The practice of Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination Law, is the practice of the law that governs and regulates the workplace. Work is important. Work underlies the identity of many Americans. Workplace law is fascinating because it forces legislators, triers of fact, and triers of law to grapple with the nuances of the life of the workplace: the human psyche, interpersonal exchanges, and the dynamics that exist between groups and individuals. Unlike in many countries, like Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, which all have statutory provisions requiring employers to show good cause prior to discharging employees, employment in the United States is presumed to be at-will. This means that any employer may hire, fire, and set up terms and conditions for its employees as it sees fit. Atop this presumption, however, is engrafted legislation and sometimes judge-made law that dictates restrictions on how and why changes in the terms and conditions of one’s employment (including hiring and firing) may be implemented.

Employment Law equips students to deal with a host of questions that may come up in a lawsuit against an employer, including: What rights to expression or protection from various searches do employees enjoy? What differentiates a public employer’s workplace from that of a private employer? What circumstances, if any, give rise to an unjust dismissal? What post termination restraints may employers place upon employees? Employment Discrimination focuses on that area of employment law that attempts to regulate status or class-based discrimination in the workplace, and it explores the protection that major pieces of federal legislation afford different groups. Labor Law addresses itself largely to the National Labor Relations Act and the body of law that has grown up around the existence of labor unions. The Employment Discrimination Seminar offered explores the theory and scholarship surrounding areas not covered in depth in the survey class, like stereotyping, bullying, and subconscious bias in the workplace.

There are a number of courses devoted to subjects within the Labor & Employment Law as well courses to help you prepare to take the bar examination. Students who want to pursue legal practice in this area should consider the courses below. Other courses, besides those listed, are offered under the FIU College of Law curriculum.

Please view the Schedule of Classes to determine which courses will be offered during the current school year.

Foundation Courses related to this pathway include: Torts and Contracts.

Core Courses

Employment Discrimination
LAW 7549 Employment Discrimination (3). This course will assesses the major federal and state employment discrimination statutes (e.g., Title 7, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act) with emphasis on the relationship among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in the development and implementation of public policy.

Employment Law
LAW 6545 Employment Law (2-3). This course is a survey of basic legal and policy concepts governing the employment relationship. Subject areas include: personal service contracts, including grounds for discharge and the at-will doctrine; the collective bargaining process, including the notion of exclusivity/concerted activity, unfair labor practices, duty to bargain, impasse resolution and contract enforcement; employment discrimination, including race, sex, handicap, age, and remedial affirmative action; statutory regulation of conditions of employment, including workers’ compensation, fair labor standards, safety and health and whistleblower statutes; public and private employment distinctions, including civil service systems and employment as a property right.

Labor Law
LAW 6540 Labor Law (2-3). This course is about labor union activities and other forms of concerted activity. It focuses upon an employee’s right to form or join a union and the right to refrain from such activities. The course covers the representational and unfair labor practice provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, including the formation of a labor organization and negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements.

Civil Rights
LAW 7510 Civil Rights (2-3). This course focuses on selected federal statutes enacted to remedy violations of federal constitutional rights. The principal Reconstruction Era statutes, 42 U.S.C. sections 1981, 1982, and 1983, are examined in depth.

Federal Courts
LAW 6302 Federal Courts (3). The course examines the power and role of the federal courts as defined by the United States Constitution, federal statutes and judicial decisions. Among the topics examined are federal question, diversity and civil rights jurisdiction, habeas corpus, immunities of state and local governments from suit, and abstention.

Advanced Electives

LAW 6330 Evidence (3). This course addresses the law of evidence, including: hearsay, judicial notice, burden of proof, and presumptions; functions of judge and jury; competency and privileges of witnesses; and exclusion of testimony of witnesses and documents.

LAW 6936 Seminars (2-3). Seminars provide an opportunity for intensive analysis of legal and policy issues in a specialized area of study, culminating in a major research paper or a series of shorter papers. They require a considerable investment of time by students and faculty, and a corresponding responsibility for thorough preparation and participation by all members of the seminar. Some seminars may also include a final examination.

Experiential Courses

Internship with the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC)*

* Students should take Employment Discrimination and Employment Labor Law prior to enlisting in the EEOC internship.


Kerri L. Stone, Associate Professor of Law