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Professor Dannin makes labor law accessible for everyone

Mention workplace law to most people, and they likely will think about a scene from NBC's hit TV show The Office. But the reality of labor law can be difficult to grasp.

The American workplace is governed by dozens of federal and state laws, judicial decisions, and administrative agency regulations that make understanding the law daunting. Twelve years ago, labor law teacher and scholar Ellen Dannin started “Labor and the Law,” a monthly, online newsletter, to help nonlawyers understand workplace law. The newsletter is distributed via the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA).

"Too often people find law intimidating or are misinformed about legal issues," said Dannin. "I started the newsletter to make law more accessible to nonlawyers and to teach [them] about legal issues related to the workplace."

“Labor and the Law” has become a popular LERA resource. Although created with nonlawyers in mind, it is now read by a wide range of people. According to Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, president, Labor and Employment Relations Association, and dean, School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “The 'Labor and Employment Law' newsletter and blog represent an extraordinary resource to union leaders, managers, attorneys, scholars, neutrals and government officials. Ellen Dannin keeps the field up-to-date on legal developments in a concise and balanced way. It is one of the most highly valued resources available to members through the Labor and Employment Relations Association. I personally find it to be indispensable.”

Each issue includes a selection of recent labor law cases with a succinct description of their meaning and impact on the workplace. In addition, the newsletter includes links of interest to other web-based resources related to labor and employment law, as well as a list of recent law review articles. "Labor and the Law" is available via the LERA listserv, or can be accessed online at the LERA’s blog.

Founded in 1947, the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) is an umbrella organization where professionals interested in all aspects of labor and employment relations come together to network to share ideas and learn about new developments, issues, and practices in the field.

Professor Dannin is the Fannie Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law. Among her publications in the areas of labor and privatization law, Professor Dannin is the author of Taking Back the Workers’ Law — How to Fight the Assault on Labor Rights and Working Free: The Origins and Impact of New Zealand's Employment Contracts Act. She is currently working on a book about privatization.

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