This course will survey the law surrounding an individual's employment relationship with the employer. The class will center around the following topics: (1) The "general rule" of employment-at-will and the ways it can be modified or terminated; (2) Statutory and common law exceptions to at-will employment, such as whistle-blowing, and the like; (3) The additional rights/responsibilities of government employees (free speech rights, due process, etc.); (4) A general overview of the law involving employment discrimination litigation, under the variety of state and federal statutes governing, race, sex, age, and disability; and (5) A look at the duties an employee can owe, such as involving trade secrets and obligations not to compete. During the semester, we will also cover issues regarding employee privacy, drug testing, sexual harassment, payment and wage obligations, and high-tech employment issues. In addition to the case book, there will be a supplement, focusing upon recent Texas cases in these areas.
There are no prerequisites for this class; a student need not have taken the classes of Labor Law or Employment Discrimination to "enjoy" this class. It is different from Labor Law, in that this class will not cover collective bargaining, strikes, union-management relations, and other topics covered in that class.
Philip Durst is an employment and civil rights lawyer here in Austin. The focus of the class will be on how these kinds of cases are actually handled. During the semester, there will hopefully be time to discuss "practical" aspects of employment litigation on both sides of the docket, such as the preparing and trial of these kinds of cases.