Employment in the New Age of Trade and Technology: Implications for Labor and Employment Law
Kenneth Glenn Dau-Schmidt
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 76, No. 1, 2001
In this article, Professor Dau-Schmidt examines changes in the employment relationship due to new information technology and the rise of the global economy and explores the implications of those changes for labor and employment law. Professor Dau-Schmidt argues that information technology and the globalization of the economy have caused a shift in the paradigmatic employment relationship from one of long-term employment governed by an internal labor market and corporate administrative rules to one of short-term employment governed by an international spot market for labor.
This change in the typical employment relationship from one of long-term employment governed by an internal labor market to one of short-term employment governed by an international spot market for labor raises a host of issues for our national labor policies and labor and employment law. Increased employee turnover raises assessment and monitoring costs. How do we encourage employers to give letters of reference and allow employers to accurately assess and monitor employees' productivity, while still adequately protecting employees from defamation and needless infringements on their privacy? Increased employee turnover also poses a threat to employer trade secrets and investments in human capital. How do we allow employers to adequately protect corporate secrets and recoup training costs without unduly infringing on employee initiative and freedom of movement? Moreover, how do we ensure that employees obtain adequate training to maintain their productivity and standard of living in an economy in which training has become paramount? Moreover, in a labor market in which employees may have numerous employers over the course of their work life, how do we provide employees with the semblance of a career, complete with promotions and benefits comparable to those that were provided in the long-term employment relationships of the internal labor market? The increased competitiveness and turnover of the labor market have only increased obstacles to employee collective action and negotiation with their employers. How do we insure adequate opportunities for employee expression of a collective voice in this new environment? Finally, the globalization of the economy undermines nations' ability to undertake even efficient regulation that might put their employers at a competitive disadvantage. How do we maintain democratic values and the rule of law in a country whose economy dances to the tune of a global economy?
Professor Dau-Schmidt examines these questions and proposes several solutions that are consistent with the new information technology and global economy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: Labor law, employment law, information technology, global economy, globalization, job training, employee references, covenants not to compete, collective representation
JEL Classification: J24, J58, K12, K31
Date posted: May 6, 2005