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Concentration in Employment Law
The Labor and Employment Law field has dramatically expanded in recent years and continues to grow. The study of employer and employee responsibilities and rights has a broad range. The field encompasses the traditional establishment of collective bargaining relationships between unions and management in the private sector and the more recent establishment of such relations in the public sector. The prohibition of employment discrimination based on race, age, sex (including sexual harassment), religion and disabilities falls under this category as does the regulation of employee benefits, qualified retirement plans and regulation of health and safety in the workplace.
The study of labor and employment law provides the foundation for the practice of law as a representative of management, individual employees and unions. This concentration also provides a base for practice in governmental positions, such as with the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Human Rights Commission of a state or local government. It is also beneficial in the practice of corporate law, and in representing other institutional clients such as in health care industries or in higher education. Significant increases in the number of employment discrimination cases filed have made this area an important component of any litigation department. A wide range of opportunities for employment exists in this field.
Requirements for the Concentration in Employment Law
Since 1987, the William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law has offered students the opportunity to achieve a Concentration in Employment Law while pursuing the J.D. degree. The Center has the distinction of establishing the first program in the United States to offer a Concentration in Employment Law and it is still one of very few programs to offer students this opportunity.
To obtain the Concentration in Employment Law, students must complete eleven (11) hours of approved coursework and write a publishable paper on an employment law topic in addition to receiving the J.D. degree. Students pursuing the Concentration are required to take and pass with a grade of C or above the basic labor law course, "The Law of Labor Relations," but are otherwise free to choose approved employment law classes. These choices can include directed research projects to focus their studies in the areas of employment law which most interest them.
For detailed information about the Concentration program, students are encouraged to contact Professor FitzGibbon, Director of the Center, Room 166, Office phone 314-977-2768, for a personal interview.
Of course, students who are not interested in the Concentration are encouraged to enroll in the Labor and Employment Law courses of their choice.
Specific Courses/Frequency of Offering
- Law of Labor Relations (Labor Law) (3) (every year/day; alternating fall semesters/evening)
- Unions and Their Members (2 hrs.) (every year/day; occasionally evening)
- Employment Discrimination (3 hrs.) (every year/day; occasionally evening)
- Disability Discrimination (3 hrs.) (every year/day; occasionally evening)
- Workers' Compensation (1 hr) (every year/evening)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (2 hrs.) (every year)
- Sports Law: Labor Wrangling, Endorsement and the Art of the Deal (2) (every year)
Seminars (usually offered in late afternoon or evening)
- Labor Arbitration (2 hrs.) (every year)
- ERISA and Employee Benefits (2 hrs.) (every year)
- Current Issues in Employment Law (2 hrs.) (every year)
- Advanced Topics in Labor Law (2) (every year)
Sequencing of Courses
Students seeking the Concentration are strongly encouraged to take the Law of Labor Relations class in their second year. Additional suggested courses include the externship with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office and the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency for the City of St. Louis (available through the Clinic). Also recommended is directed research on an employment or labor law topic, supervised by a faculty member (directed research may qualify for credit toward the Concentration in Employment Law).
Extracurricular activities include: lectures/programs each semester on current issues in labor and employment law sponsored by the Wefel Center for Employment Law and the Employment Law Association. Opportunity to attend a full day conference focusing on important Employment Law issues featuring prominent national and local speakers and to meet members of the local bar who attend the program are also offered. Students can also participate in the activities of the Employment Law Association.