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  Dana Muir

New Book Provides Easy-to-Use Guide to Employment Law

9/15/2003 --

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---In today's business environment, managers face many challenges arising from their interactions with employees. The decisions they make in addressing and resolving workforce issues can have important legal implications for the company, as well as for them personally. Yet, these critical management decisions may be compromised by a lack of familiarity with employment law or misconceptions about its application.

In her new book, "A Manager's Guide to Employment Law," Dana Muir of the University of Michigan Business School seeks to fill this void by providing the practical information managers need to minimize legal problems when hiring, promoting, supervising, evaluating and terminating employees.

While the book does not give specific legal advice or preclude the need to seek advice from human resources professionals and employment-law attorneys, it does help managers develop a toolkit, or "internal compass," for assessing workforce issues and selecting the best approach for resolving them, says Muir, the Louis and Myrtle Moskowitz Research Professor of Business and Law and associate professor of business law.

"My goal is to present the basic legal concepts governing day-to-day management of a workforce, so managers will be more comfortable in approaching employment-law issues as business decisions," says Muir, who draws upon 25 years of experience as an HR executive, practicing lawyer and educator. "Understanding the fundamentals of U.S. employment law is no less important to a manager than a base knowledge of accounting, finance or marketing."

"A Manager's Guide to Employment Law" is organized around legal concepts of interest to managers, providing an easy-to-use reference source. Topics include: how to select the best employee; how to avoid employment-law issues when doing employee-performance evaluations and giving references for former employees; and how to avoid discrimination and harassment in the workplace and deal with related complaints. Other issues, including the handling of disabled employees and procedures for terminating employees, are also discussed.

At the beginning of the book, Muir defines the basic principle of employment-at-will, which governs the legal relationship between employers and employees in the United States, and identifies important exceptions to the rule, such as contracts, non-discrimination statutes and policy-based and statutory provisions. Each chapter contains real examples of problems faced by managers and explains possible strategies for dealing with similar issues. Unfair and illegal management practices are discussed, and readers are challenged to test their understanding of employment law with "Fact or Fallacy?" boxes.

"Managers should analyze employment-related issues as they do any other business problem---both as posing risks and offering rewards," Muir says. "With solid information and sound strategies, they can select, motivate and lead their employees with greater confidence and effectiveness."

"A Manager's Guide to Employment Law" is part of the University of Michigan Business School Management Series, which draws on the interdisciplinary research of the School¿s faculty. For additional information, visit

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone:734.936.1015 or 734.647.1847