Jonathan Harkavy Presents 2007-08 Annual Supreme Court Review of Employment Law Cases

At the 24th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor and Employment Law CLE held in Asheville, Jonathan Harkavy presented his 2007-08 annual review of the Supreme Court’s employment law cases. His paper is entitled Supreme Court of the United States Employment Law Commentary, 2007 Term.

Summary: The 2007 Term of the Supreme Court of the United States provided fresh and persuasive evidence of the centrality of work in our lives and the significance of employment law in our jurisprudence during this first decade of the new century. Nearly one out of four civil cases on the Court's opinion docket involved disputes concerning some aspect of employer-employee relations. How the law regulates and affects the employment relationship thus continued to find detailed, if not fully coherent, expression in the Court's opinions during the 2007 Term. This paper first reviews the term's decisions arranged largely by subject matter. The italicized paragraphs preceding and following the cases offer some personal commentary on the decisions and their likely impact on workers, employers, and their lawyers, and more generally on our employment laws. Following this term's cases are brief summaries of the grants of certiorari in employment-related cases for the 2008 Term. The paper concludes with a brief observation about the structure of federal employment law in the wake of the Court's recent decisions.