Faculty Post: Collaborating with Students on Employment Law Issues

By Emily A. Spieler, Edwin W. Hadley Professor of Law

As an expert in labor and employment issues, I seek out NUSL students who share my interests. I am interested working collaboratively with students on projects that matter in the outside world.

Here are two examples from this past spring:

I asked one student to act as my research assistant for the quarter. She was going to graduate, and she was particularly interested in the intersections between law and policy in the labor area. As Chair of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee – a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Labor – I was asked to testify before a Senate committee regarding the effectiveness of the law that forbids retaliation against workers who raise safety complaints. She and I together conducted a full literature review of the subject, read the legal cases, looked at data that was compiled by the Department of Labor, and worked together to finalize my testimony. She said it proved to her that one can combine interests in policy and in law in ways that matter. The testimony from that hearing is posted on the Senate HELP Committee website.

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Faculty Post: Fighting for Whistleblower Rights

by Emily Spieler, Hadley Professor of Law

Edward Snowden caused an international debate about whistleblowers when he turned secret national security information over to the media.  The conversation that has ensued about our privacy has been deeply important – both to our sense of our own democratic principles and to our understanding of the needs for secrecy in national intelligence.

But while Snowden may not be the typical whistleblower, he nevertheless represents a class of people who decide that they must step forward and raise concerns about activities they believe to be illegal or unsafe.  Sometimes, these concerns involve suspected evasion of laws.  Often they raise issues that affect the well-being of others.
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