Searching For Silver Linings During COVID-19

16 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2020 Last revised: 4 Sep 2020

See all articles by Deepa Das Acevedo

Deepa Das Acevedo

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: April 4, 2020


This short essay responds to currently circulating suppositions about how COVID-19 will impact—specifically, will improve—working conditions in America once the pandemic has concluded. I argue that these predictions are cautiously optimistic, rationally deduced from ongoing events, and thoroughly unlikely to be realized. As world-transforming as COVID-19 has already proven to be, I show that both governmental and corporate responses to date do not support optimistic assessments as to the pandemic’s effects on labor and employment law in the United States. I also respond to various analogies that have been drawn to previous world-transforming events as a way of supporting the idea that the pandemic will change working conditions in America for the better, and I show why either those analogies rely on bad history or are simply faulty in the way they compare previous events to COVID-19. The lesson—because even in these difficult times, papers by academics must have lessons—is as grim as the news about the virus itself: America’s problematic labor system is far more resilient than the workers who suffer because of it.

Keywords: COVID-19, work, labor and employment law, reforms

JEL Classification: K00, K31, J00, J2, J3, J5, J6, J8, Z1

Suggested Citation

Das Acevedo, Deepa, Searching For Silver Linings During COVID-19 (April 4, 2020). U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3568750, Available at SSRN: or

Deepa Das Acevedo (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics