Treatises offer a wealth of background information on a particular topic, and should be one of a researcher’s very first authorities to consult when dealing with a new issue. The aim of this post is to walk through how to locate and use a particular treatise dealing with employment law issues, Workplace Discrimination, Privacy and Security in an Age of Terrorism (2007), as well as the contents of this treatise.
How to Locate the Treatise:
To find the resource, head to the Charlotte School of Law Library, located at the Suttle campus, and follow the signs within the library through the glass doors to the treatises section. The call number for this particular treatise is KF3319.A2C67 (using the search terms “workplace discrimination” in the CSL Library catalog gets you here). Within the row of compact shelving labeled “KF3315-KF3736,” the treatise is located on the first section of shelves to the left, on the middle shelf.
In a nutshell, Workplace Discrimination is a single volume treatise from 2007 that examines some of the more common employment discrimination issues with more of a focus on how the laws have been altered or interpreted differently since September 11, 2001 and the subsequent War on Terror. Because of the contextual focus, the treatise is of good size to give an adequate overview of the issues.
The treatise is organized into four distinct sections – Workplace Discrimination, Workplace Privacy, Collective Bargaining, and Physical and Emotional Security – and one main Table of Contents that displays the various subtopics under each section. The treatise does suffer, however, from the lack of an index. As such, it’s really up to the user’s knowledge of the general issues in determining how easily they will be able to locate material solely through the Table of Contents. The Table of Contents does an adequate job including buzzwords for topics, like “Workplace Stress,” “Profiling,” and “Labor-Management.” However, it should be noted that these topics are scattered about to fit within the four categories above, and are not organized into a more traditional topic list that sort of builds on topics from the ground up. As such, I think this treatise should not be used as a first look into employment discrimination issues. Instead, I think researchers would be better suited using this treatise once they’ve already built a foundation of information on the topic and subtopics through a more traditional, straightforward treatise or other secondary source.
Navigating the Treatise:
Let’s say you have a client who is a few years away from retirement, but was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As a result of the diagnosis, she also battles severe depression. The depression worsens the multiple sclerosis, and the multiple sclerosis worsens the depression. She has recently been in discussions with her employer over what she could and could not perform, and the employer has given her an ultimatum: continue doing the job she has done for many years, or have her employment terminated. What do you research the issue to best help your client?
As suggested above, I think the first step might be to consult a more traditional treatise to get an initial overview of the related issues. That way, when you’re ready to consult Workplace Discrimination, you shouldn’t have any trouble perusing the Table of Contents to find the relevant sections and chapters. Even without consulting another treatise first, however, you may be able to wing it and find your way by browsing the Table of Contents. Through an initial browsing of the content, Chapter 17 (page 501) – “Workplace Stress Claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act” – should immediately jump out. “Workplace Stress” would have been a difficult search term to come up with on my own, but the term “disability” from the chapter title grabbed my attention, as I would have likely used “mental disability” as an initial search term in an index, had the treatise included one. The good thing about this particular chapter is that it does not rely so heavily on the terrorism context, and is instead a more straightforward examination of workplace stress claims.
Workplace Discrimination, Privacy and Security in an Age of Terrorism is an easy read, and deals with issues through an interesting lens. Because of the treatise’s niche-like status, it may not be the go-to secondary resource for employment discrimination. However, I think the treatise works well as an advanced resource, undoubtedly helpful to anyone with facts even loosely involving terrorism or its impact on America’s culture and laws since September 11th.
While I don’t think there is great, free alternative to this treatise that provides employment discrimination information under such a lens as terrorism, there are plenty of alternatives that provide a wealth of information on employment discrimination issues in general. One such alternative, the American Civil Liberties Union, runs an employment discrimination blog, complete with up-to-date trending topics, key issues, videos, and more.
~ Zachary Oakes, Class of 2013 ~