Workplace Law

The richness and attractions of Las Vegas for those who visit as well as for those of us who make it our home depend on the hard work of thousands of employees in all sectors of our economy, from information technology and hospitality services to construction, manufacturing, and education. In Nevada, employers and workers alike benefit from a legal infrastructure that is flexible enough to both predict and react to changes in our economy and in the needs of our workforce and business. In a time where unions' influence has waned nation-wide, the union movement is strong and vibrant in Las Vegas. The importance of the unions, coupled with the innovations of our business community, and, of course, the 24/7 nature of life in Las Vegas, make the city an exceptionally interesting place to study workplace law. Since its inception, UNLV Boyd School of Law has been a center for the study of legal regulation of the workplace.

The drivers of our local economy – gaming and hospitality – raise especially challenging workplace issues. Law students, as well as students in the Gaming LL.M. Program, can take workplace law classes that prepare them to advise clients or work in-house on issues involving collective bargaining, wage and hour compliance, and sexual and racial harassment. With the expansion of gaming in other contexts and jurisdictions, our students learn how to adapt to new and different regulatory environments.

Outside the classroom, students can take advantage of the many programs and conferences hosted by the law school that focus on labor and employment issues. These programs bring together faculty and other scholars from around the country, students, practitioners, and community members who have particular expertise in workplace law.

Employment & Labor Law Faculty

Since its founding, UNLV Boyd School of Law has been a leader in workplace law, with several nationally and internationally known faculty members in the field. Professors Ann McGinley, Elaine Shoben and Ruben Garcia form the core of our labor law faculty.

Core Workplace Law Courses Taught at UNLV Boyd School of Law

  • Employment Law,
    taught by Professor Garcia, covers statutory and common law claims for wrongful termination, retaliation, and employee privacy. Federal and state laws regulating minimum wage and overtime pay are a major focus of the course, as that is currently a busy area of litigation in Nevada and nationally. Employer rights and responsibilities during the hiring and layoff process are also covered. Students can also undertake an in-depth research project that can result in a publishable paper.
  • Disability Law,
    taught by Professor McGinley, a co-author of Disability Law: Cases, Materials, Problems, fifth edition (LexisNexis) (2010). One-third of the course deals with employment anti-discrimination law under the Americans with Disabilities Law (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Employment Discrimination,
    taught by Professor McGinley, studies federal and state employment discrimination laws, with an emphasis on how to prosecute and defend against discrimination claims. The course includes visits from Las Vegas lawyers who teach students how to take and defend depositions in an employment discrimination case. Students also interview local employees and, based on those interviews, create anti-harassment policies and training programs for management and staff.
  • Labor Law,
    taught by Professor Garcia, is the law of collective bargaining, employees organizing for better wages and working conditions and employer responses to unions. While the course primarily deals with federal labor law governing private sector employees, students are exposed to some of the public sector labor and constitutional issues that recently have been part of the national dialogue. Students also engage in simulations of bargaining and grievance sessions.

Workplace Law in the Future at UNLV Boyd School of Law

We anticipate expanding our course offerings in workplace law within the next few years to include, among other courses, Worker's Compensation and ERISA. We also look forward to continuing to interact with other scholars, practitioners, and community members in conferences and other outreach programs. And, at the law school itself, we expect our faculty's teaching and scholarship to continue to have a positive impact on this ever-changing and locally and nationally important area of law.