Thursday, December 30, 2004

Highlights of CLE:

1) The burger and drinks that I bought at the Hotel Bar;

2) Bumping into an old friend from law school, also there to get his credits, whom I haven't seen in years...;

3) The fact that one of the presenters let us out at early and gave us a longer break so I could catch up with my friend over drinks at the bar.

But as to the substance of the three courses that I took, the most interesting subject matter was the employment discrimination seminar. However, the instructor was "so-so" in terms of his grasp of the subject matter and presentation. Especially when it came to the First Amendment and Hostile Work Environment theory.

I found him to be especially insensitive to the notion that the hostile work environment theory might conflict with the free speech norm. He gave a few examples, for instance, of openly racist and sexist speech and expression in the workplace. He assumed arguendo that employers had an affirmative duty under present law to quash such speech if it occurred, or else be subject to a hostile work environment, Title VII claim. He rightly noted that private employers had every right to dictate what speech they would tolerate in their workplace -- but scoffed at the notion that private employers could permit openly racist or sexist speech and have a First Amendment defense against a hostile work environment claim if they chose not to forbid such speech or expression in the workplace.

He really needs to read this classic article by Eugene Volokh before he puts on another one of these seminars.

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