The 2013 School of Law Annual Labor and Employment program will be held on Thursday, December 5 and will consist of two topical panel discussions followed by a networking reception with light refreshments and cocktails. The program’s first panel, Implicit Bias, will focus on unconscious bias in the workplace. Panel 2, Public Sector Collective Bargaining Agreements and the Resulting Public Policy Questions that Arise, will focus on public sector collective bargaining agreements, framed by recent court decisions in California and Massachusetts.

Panel discussions will take place from 5:30 to 7:30p.m. in Dockser Hall at Northeastern University School of Law. They will be immediately followed by a reception in the Dockser 250 lounge. We hope to see you there!

Location: Northeastern University School of Law, Dockser Hall, Room 250 (Reception in lounge outside of 250)

Register online by Monday, December 2nd


Panel Descriptions

Panel 1: Implicit Bias

Those engaged in the practice of employment law know that explicit evidence of bias in the workplace, often called “smoking gun” evidence, is rare. Yet we all know that bias continues to exist and its effects continue to be felt. Social scientists who study the nature of prejudice say that one reason for the paucity of “smoking gun” evidence is that bias is often unconscious or implicit, and takes the form of unacknowledged preferences for those who are perceived to be part of the discriminator’s “in group.” We invite you to hear an expert panel of experienced practitioners in employment law discuss the relatively new science of unconscious bias and how the practice of employment law has been affected by it.

Moderator: Mark Irvings ’75

Speakers include:

  • Jaclyn Kugell ’92
  • James Weliky ’95

Panel 2: Public Sector Collective Bargaining and Public Policy

Questions That Arise Public sector collective bargaining agreements often provide for binding arbitration of grievances or other disputes. Those grievances, however, frequently raise public policy questions and the authority of elected officials to control fiscal policy and spending, and to impose discipline. In these days of economic contraction and fiscal constraints, how do the competing public policies of labor rights verses elected official control over public finances and fiscal choices co-exist? How do public officials manage scarce resources and balance competing demands when it is impossible, or at least very difficult, to fully fund all obligations? How do the choices made in rosier economic times affect the ability of public officials to make hard decisions mandated by declining resources? Should these questions be resolved by private arbitration or by public courts? Can these issues be resolved by private arbitration? Should courts be overseeing just cause determinations made by arbitrators, who are overseeing the decisions of employers? This discussion will be framed by recent court decisions in California and Massachusetts.

Moderator: Mark Irvings ’75

Speakers include:

  • Janis Barquist ’78
  • Tim Buckalew '80
  • Susan Horwitz ’84