This course addresses legal issues every manager needs to know to handle employment issues effectively. In addition, knowing the legal standards enables managers to better handle their personal employment relationships with their employers.
This course is targeted toward anyone who expects to manage or supervise others, whether directly or indirectly, in large or small organizations. The focus is on the standards governing workplace conduct so managers understand their own rights as well as the rights of those who work for them. It will be useful for students who intend to work in human resources. But, the focus of the class is directed at the legal principles that entrepreneurs, general managers, supervisors, and consultants need to understand in dealing with their employees, co-workers, clients, and their employers.
The course begins by considering what companies, managers, and employees need to know about the employment relationship and how those relationships and the laws governing the relationships are changing over time. We will discuss the limits on a manager's ability to fire employees. We also will address the differences between various categories of workers, such as independent contractors and employees, and why categorization matters to the company and the workers.
The course will quickly survey the legal frameworks applying to a variety of problems most typically faced by employers and employees. Those include day-to-day issues such as safety, pay practices, non-cash and deferred compensation programs, and privacy rights (such as those raised by drug testing and e-mail). It also will consider situations that may occur more irregularly or at fewer employers, such as labor unionization attempts and interface with unionized workforces.
Finally, a substantial portion of the course is devoted to issues involving discrimination in employment, such as race and gender discrimination. We will discuss the use and limitations of affirmative action plans as well as considerations in adopting plans. We will address the kinds of employee actions that are likely to result in successful discrimination and sexual harassment charges. We also will discuss the liability of companies, managers, and individual employees in those situations.
The class will focus heavily on actual and expected types of legal claims faced by business organizations and application of the laws in actual and hypothetical situations. As a result, many of the class discussions will concentrate on court opinions and litigated situations.
This course fulfills the MBA law/ethics requirement.