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"Labor and employment law" refers to the broad array of laws that govern the relationships between, and the rights and duties of, employers, employees and labor unions. This curricular area comprises three separate domains of law and policy: laws concerning general aspects of the employer-employee relationship (e.g., the common law of employment and employee benefits laws); specific statutory frameworks prohibiting discriminatory treatment (employment discrimination law); and laws relating to labor unions and collective bargaining agreements (labor law).
The practice of employment law is quite varied. For example, the practice of a lawyer who works in the area of employment discrimination might be oriented primarily to litigation, while that of a labor lawyer might focus on collective bargaining, arbitration, and counseling clients about the applicable regulatory schemes. Labor law is an increasingly significant practice area in the public sector, due to the rise of union membership among government employees. Issues implicating labor and employment law also often arise in the practice of lawyers who do not specialize in it, including general practitioners, in-house counsel, business lawyers, non-profit lawyers, and civil rights lawyers.
Students looking for a single course to provide familiarity with labor and employment law should take Employment Law. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in labor or employment law should plan to take each of the "core" courses identified below. The courses listed as "specialized" address specific sub-topics of employment law. Those listed as "related" courses cover collateral issues that are likely to arise in a typical employment law practice or introduce legal concepts that provide a deeper understanding of labor and employment law. In addition to this coursework, students should consider seeking out an internship opportunity to deepen their understanding of this practice area and enhance their career prospects after graduation.