This unit will examine the growing use of individual labour and equality rights to protect working people, with the overall aim of assessing the capacity of this type of regulation to enhance justice, both in the workplace and more widely. It will use experience in the UK of a highly individualized workplace rights and enforcement system to identify strengths and weaknesses in this kind of workplace protection. This will involve consideration of EU and European Convention on Human Rights standards, while some comparative readings will also be set and students will be encouraged themselves to bring a comparative dimension to the issues and assignments. Jumping off from the UK experience, the unit will evaluate various strategies for enhancing the protective capacity of individual workplace rights. These include: (1) conceiving of such rights as fundamental human or constitutional rights; (2) imposing positive duties on employers and others to promote and secure observance of individual labour and equality rights; (3) institutional innovation to secure workplace protections, for example via equality and human rights commissions, labour inspectorates, ombudspeople, tax and criminal prosecution authorities; (4) involving third parties in the realization of individual labour standards, for example, NGOs, trade unions, parliamentary and other public inquiries, consumers, campaigners and the press; (5) focussing on employer activities that moderate individual labour and equality standards, like human resources practices, corporate social responsibility regimes and general managerial strategizing. Threaded through the unit will be consideration of different methodological approaches to legal research, with the twin goals of increasing what students take from the materials covered and of improving their legal research and analytical skills, including for use in the final essay. Prof Barmes draws on her extensive previous research in this area and her varied background, for example, in legal practice, conducting research for the Law Commission of England and Wales, as co-editor of the Recent Cases section of the Industrial Law Journal and as co-Director of the QMUL School of Law Centre for Research on Law, Equality and Diversity (LEAD).
Apr 13, 14 and 27, 28 (9-5)
class participation (10%), 1000wd assignment (20%) and 6000wd essay (70%)