Course Descriptions


This course focuses on the federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace when it is based on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, and age. Students examine the statutes and theories that protect individuals from discriminatory decisions that are based on status rather than on work performance. The course also introduces emerging issues, such as discrimination in employee benefit plans and sex and gender discrimination, as well as enforcement problems involved in using arbitration and class actions. Students also explore policy matters that are raised by the developing employment discrimination case law.


This course provides an overview of employment law in non-unionized, private sector workplaces. The laws that govern the employment relationship were developed in response to particular problems and form a fragmented patchwork of legal protections. Common-law, statutory, and regulatory responses to workplace problems are covered. Common law topics include legal adjustments to the employment at will doctrine, defamation, and workplace privacy issues. Students also examine federal statutes, such as anti-discrimination laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act, and contract claims such as arbitration agreements, employer manuals, and covenants not to compete.


As news headlines reveal, the Internet and digitization make information products extremely vulnerable to unauthorized use. In response, those injured by unauthorized use of information products turn to the criminal law to protect their interests in these increasingly valuable materials. This course focuses on how federal criminal law deals with takings of intangible products, such as business information, trade secrets, and copyrighted material. In addition, the course reviews theft law, introduces federal criminal law, and explores the relation between civil and criminal law.


As the current corporate scandals show, white collar crime injures businesses, employees, investors, and retirees. It can also have long-term negative effects on the integrity of important private-sector institutions and on the government itself. This course surveys the federal government's response to white collar crimes. It covers traditional federal offenses, such as fraud, and bribery; developing racketeering and money laundering laws; and regulatory crimes, such as environmental crime and insider trading. Students consider important jurisprudential and policy issues; the expanded role of the federal criminal law, prosecutorial discretion, civil versus criminal liability, and the rationale for punishing business entities. Finally, students become familiar with the federal sentencing guidelines. The course is recommended to students who plan to represent business clients and to those who plan careers in criminal law.

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