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Professor Bisom-Rapp Participates In Seton Hall Law Forum

November 1, 2011

Seton Hall
Seton Hall

On October 28th and 29th, Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp served as a senior commentator at Seton Hall University School of Law’s Sixth Annual Employment and Labor Law Young Scholars’ Forum. The forum provides junior labor and employment law scholars with scholarly commentary and critique from established scholars in the field. Professor Bisom-Rapp says she is pleased to have been asked to provide commentary on an impressive array of papers.

Four junior scholars presented papers at the event.  Professor Jeanette Cox (University of Dayton) presented “Pregnancy as ‘Disability’ and the Amended Americans with Disability Act.”  Professor Deborah Thompson Eisenberg (University of Maryland) presented her paper, “The Amicus Strategy: How the Department of Labor Establishes Policy in the Courts.”  Professor Sachin Pandya (University of Connecticut) presented his paper, “The Puzzle of the Employee-Misconduct Defense in American Work Law.”  Finally, Professor Arianna Levinson (University of Louisville) presented “What the Awards Tell Us About Labor Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Claims.”

Eight senior commentators reviewed the papers.  Serving as commentators, in addition to Professor Bisom-Rapp, were: Professors Deborah Brake (University of Pittsburgh), Timothy Glynn (Seton Hall), Tristin Green (University of San Francisco), Elaine Shoben (University of Nevada Las Vegas), Charles Sullivan (Seton Hall), Michael Waterstone (Loyola Law School – Los Angeles), and Michael Zimmer (Loyola University, Chicago).

Professor Bisom-Rapp and her casebook co-author Mike Zimmer were asked to provide extensive commentary on Arianna Levinson’s paper. That paper summarized Professor Levinson’s study of labor arbitration awards of unionized workers’ equal employment opportunity claims. Professor Bisom-Rapp notes,  “This is a very interesting, important project.  Interesting, because the impetus for the study is a controversial recent Supreme Court case, 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, which held that labor unions could waive union members’ rights to have their employment discrimination claims heard in court.  And it is important because Professor Levinson is trying to determine whether some of the criticism of Pyett is empirically valid.  In other words, she wants to know whether the fears of Pyett’s critics are justified. In fact, she may find out things about labor arbitration of employment discrimination claims that are counter-intuitive and help reveal the contours of appropriate policy responses to the Pyett decision.”

Reflecting more broadly on the forum, Professor Bisom-Rapp said, “This kind of event is such a joy to be part of because so many good ideas come from relatively new scholars. At the same time, I have been so lucky throughout my career to have been mentored by top flight legal academics.  Being able to play that role for others new to the field is very gratifying.”

Professor Bisom-Rapp was affected by the unprecedented October snowstorm, which hit the East Coast on October 29th.  Her flight home to San Diego was cancelled and she  spent an extra night in Newark, delaying her birthday celebration with her family for one day.

Group photo:

FRONT ROW (left to right): Charles Sullivan, Ariana Levinson, Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, Michael Zimmer, Elaine Shoben

BACK ROW (left to right): Deborah Brake, Jeanette Cox, Tristin Green, Susan Bisom-Rapp, Michael Waterstone, Sanchin Pandya, Timothy Glynn

Photos by Sean Sime, Seton Hall Photographer