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Welcome to Employment Law

Employment law encompasses the many common-law, statutory, and constitutional rights and obligations of employers and employees. This course covers most major areas of employment law. Students will learn about hiring, compensation, benefits, supervision,


Welcome to Employment Law! This upper-level course is divided into six chapters, with practice questions after each lesson and chapter.

The modern workplace is permeated with laws that affect the relationships, rights, and duties of employers and employees, from common-law doctrines to modern statutory schemes.  

Chapter two covers hiring, compensation, benefits, and employee leave. First, we’ll learn about the nature of the employment relationship and legal restrictions on the hiring process. Then we’ll examine minimum-wage and overtime laws, employee benefit plans, and family and medical leave.

In chapter three, we’ll learn about a variety of workplace rights and regulations. We’ll discuss employees’ free-speech and associational rights, and we’ll see how employers can lawfully conduct searches, seizures, and investigations. We’ll consider employees’ duties of loyalty and see how noncompete covenants might regulate former employees’ conduct. We’ll conclude with a look at occupational safety, including how workers’ compensation protects employees who incur occupational injuries or diseases.

Chapter four covers the termination of employment. We’ll learn about employment at will and how that rule can be modified by express and implied contracts. We’ll see how tort law can protect against certain kinds of termination, and we’ll learn how the United States Constitution protects public-sector employees in the termination process. We’ll discuss mass layoffs, and we’ll learn how the unemployment compensation system supports workers who’ve lost their jobs.

Chapter five is the first of three chapters on federal antidiscrimination statutes. We’ll start with a look at Title VII’s protections against employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. We’ll learn the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact, and we’ll discuss the legal concepts of harassment and retaliation.

Chapter six unpacks the details of Title VII litigation. We’ll begin with the administrative prerequisites to suit, followed by the structured methods of proof developed for Title VII and other discrimination cases. We’ll examine Title VII defenses and remedies. We’ll learn how pattern-and-practice cases can attack systematic, intentional discrimination, and we’ll see how disparate-impact cases can address unintentional discrimination resulting from an employer’s practices.

Our seventh and final chapter covers age and disability discrimination, including an employer’s duty to accommodate individuals with disabilities. We’ll conclude with a lesson on employment arbitration, which is a fast-growing alternative to litigating in court.

If you watch all the lesson videos and work through all the practice questions, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the wide world of employment law. Let’s begin.