Employment Law

Course number: LAW 3330

Extended Course Description:

COURSE CONTENT: Employment law is concerned with regulation of the individual employment relationship through the common law and statutory regimes. This course will not deal with “labour law,” which is the law governing the collective bargaining relationship between unions and employers, as well as the rights and duties arising under a collective agreement. However, much of the law of individual employment which we will study in this course is applicable to both unionized and non-unionized workplaces, and some of the cases we will review will have originated from unionized settings.

Employment law is primarily rooted in contract law, so a firm understanding of contract law principles is an asset. As employment law is a vast subject which consists of detailed statutory regimes and a rapidly-evolving common law, this course cannot be comprehensive. Instead, it aims to:

  • convey basic principles that form the common law employment relationship and the essence of the various statutory regimes that modify that relationship and create rights and obligations on the part of employees and employers;
  • equip you to identify traditional and emerging employment law issues and equip you to marshall arguments to resolve those issues based on the employment law principles we have studied.

Topics to be covered in the course will include: history of employment law; employees vs. independent contractors; identifying the employer in complex business structures; the law of hiring and formation of contract; modification of contract; express and implied employee and employer obligations; workplace privacy, monitoring and surveillance; drug and alcohol testing in the workplace; intellectual property and employees; reasonable accommodation; termination of employment (constructive, wrongful and just cause dismissal); termination damages and mitigation.

PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT: This course offers an introduction in depth to areas which are absolutely essential to any modern general practitioner. Understanding the general principles of employment law provides a solid foundation for any corporate-commercial lawyer as well as those specializing in labour or employment litigation.

TEACHING METHOD: Lecture, with class discussion of assigned material. Student participation is expected in class discussions both on a voluntary basis and when called upon to do so. Therefore completing the required readings before each class is essential. There may be opportunity to invite subject matter experts to present on select topics, and the opportunity to complete in-class problems to better demonstrate the principles under discussion.

WORKLOAD: Approximately four to six hours per week spread throughout the term, with anticipated heavier reading requirements towards the end of term.

MATERIALS: Textbook and Casebook

ASSESSMENT: 100%  final examination (open-book).

ENROLMENT: Limited to 50

INSTRUCTOR: Jim McLandress

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