Course Details

Employment Discrimination

This course is the study of employment discrimination law, which is primarily federal and statutory in nature. From a big-picture standpoint, the course focuses on three primary questions. First, what is discrimination? Second, how can and how should we require that discrimination be proven in the courts? And finally, once discrimination is proven, what remedies are appropriate? Connected to these doctrinal questions are theoretical and policy questions about the efficacy of employment discrimination law, the goals of employment discrimination law, and the appropriate institutional roles of courts, legislatures, and regulatory bodies in shaping the law. We will take up each of these questions, and consider them in the context of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability under four major pieces of federal legislation: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act (including its amendments), and 42 U.S.C. ยง 1981. Throughout the course, we will also examine how attorneys use employment discrimination concepts in practice, discussing lawyering strategies from litigation, counseling, and risk management perspectives. Overview of Class: I will use three teaching methods to engage as many of you as possible in a meaningful way on a regular basis: - In-class Q&A: Vibrant classroom discussion is essential to vetting the doctrine and the policy themes in this course and to unearthing multiple viewpoints. As such, all students are "on-call" each class period and are expected to be prepared for every class. My end of the bargain is to prepare a list of questions each week to allow you to anticipate the lines of questioning - although the posted questions will be "jumping off" points rather than a comprehensive list of queries. I will post the questions on Blackboard each week. You are also responsible for being conversant with your write-ups to the casebook problems when we cover those problems in class (see below). - Polleverywhere.com: I will also use a web-based polling system to pose questions to which the entire class will respond via the web. Results will be displayed at the front of the class in graphic form in real time, and I will use the response break-down as the impetus for class discussion. The responses are entirely anonymous and I will not track them in any way. - Casebook problem write-ups: Objectives: Our casebook contains short fact-pattern problems in each chapter. These problems are a means of synthesizing and applying what you have learned in the chapter, and present an opportunity to explore employment discrimination themes and policy considerations on a broader level. These problems also present opportunities to practice the same skills you will use on the final exam. Registration Requirements: The fall section of the course is open to all upper-level students. Learning Objectives: o To sharpen legal reasoning skills and to master the applicable doctrine, including: o Knowing discrimination theories and proof frameworks o Analyzing employment discrimination issues implicated by a set of facts o Articulating relevant legal rules and rationales supporting those rules o Understanding the relationship between statutory interpretation, regulatory schemes, and judicial interpretation o Matching claims, defenses, and remedies o Understanding discrimination litigation's unique procedures o Grasping the competing narratives within discrimination cases o To understand and work with major policy themes, including: o What the discrimination proof structure and burdens should look like o What the goals of anti-discrimination law should be o The shape of and limitations on appropriate relief o Patterns - judicial narrowing of rights and remedies and Congressional responses o Employer reactions - risk management o Institutional competence - courts vs. legislature vs. agencies, judicial deference to employers - business judgments and prerogatives o To understand various theoretical approaches: o Free market vs. federal legal/regulatory vs. structural approaches o The role of cognitive bias o To build lawyering skills: o To understand the lawyering aspects of employment discrimination issues o To develop your own ideas about practicing employment discrimination law Teaching Method: Class Participation, Discussion, Films/Videos, Lecture, Problem Sets, Readings, Simulation/role-play. Evaluation Method: Class Participation Final Exam Required Materials: (1) HARDCOVER CASEBOOK: Michael J. Zimmer, Charles A. Sullivan, Rebecca Hanner White, Cases and Materials on Employment Discrimination, Aspen Publishers, 8th edition, 2013, ISBN# 978-1-4548-1074-2 (2) SOFTCOVER STATUTORY SUPPLEMENT: Michael J. Zimmer, Charles A. Sullivan, Rebecca Hanner White, Employment Discrimination Selected Cases and Statutes, Aspen Publishers, 2011, ISBN# 9781454808084

Catalog Number: CONPUB 619
Practice Areas: Business, Corporate,Trans AreaConstitutional Law & Procedure
Additional Course Information: Open to First Year Students


Course History

Spring 2017
Title: Employment Discrimination
Faculty: Provenzano, Susan E. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 65     Actual: 31

Fall 2014
Title: Employment Discrimination
Faculty: Provenzano, Susan E. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 65     Actual: 11