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Labor and Employment Law Program

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The Labor and Employment Law Program (LEL) merges law and social science research to provide attorneys, legislators, social scientists, and policymakers with multifaceted perspectives at forums and conferences. Current and emerging legal issues affecting the workplace are analyzed with the goal of influencing research, legislation, policy, and litigation.

Cannabis and the Workplace

Cannabis and the Workplace

The NYS Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) is a social equity and employment law, focused on creating good paying jobs in the cannabis industry, offering resources for obtaining cannabis licenses to disadvantaged entrepreneurs, and providing financial resources to affected communities. The Labor and Employment Law Program is working with community partners to research best practices, do needs assessments, develop training and resources, and share information with stakeholders to ensure that the social equity focus of legislation is realized.

Learn more about our work.

Education and Training

Legal Education

The Labor and Employment Law Program offers multi-perspective forums and conferences that address current legal topics affecting the workplace. 

A Discussion with NLRB GC Jennifer A. Abruzzo

Jennifer Abruzzo, recently confirmed General Counsel of the NLRB, presented her views on current challenges and opportunities, initiatives she is considering, and future potential effects on workers, employers, unions, and the general public on the workplace protection and enforcement realm.
Jennifer Abruzzo NLRB GC
A Discussion with NLRB GC Jennifer A. Abruzzo

A Conversation with NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran

Lauren McFerran was named Chairman of the NLRB by President Biden. She served on the Board from December 2014 to December 2019 and was reappointed to a second term in August 2020. Chairman McFerran joined us to discuss the state of the NLRB following the Trump Administration and recent Board decisions.
Lauren McFerran NLRB Chairman
A Conversation with NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran

Video: The Promise of Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry

Webinar recorded on Feb. 9, 2022 Discussion of the NYS Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act and its social equity goals.
items in a cannabis dispensary
Video: The Promise of Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry

Return to Work: NYC Human Rights Law & Reasonable Accommodations

CLE Webinar on Dec. 9, 2021
Cover image for the 2019 Q3 ECI commentary
Return to Work: NYC Human Rights Law & Reasonable Accommodations

The Future of Real Estate in NYC

Hear some of the most prominent voices in NYC real estate and labor discuss how government policy decisions over the coming months will have major impacts on the future of real estate.
daytime view of manhattan skyline with girders in foreground
The Future of Real Estate in NYC

Social Justice and Employment

Social Justice and Employment
Esta Bigler teaching at Cayuga Correctional Facility

The Labor and Employment Law Program has been working in areas of social science research, social justice, and employment discrimination for over 20 years through its national conferences, seminars, and training programs. Its Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative (CJEI) was founded in 2014 and has grown into separate entity, now part of ILR's Outreach Strategic Initiatives Incubator.

 

ILR Program Helps People with Criminal Records Return to Workforce

Cornell Chronicle logo
Through the Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative, School of Industrial and Labor Relations legal experts are helping people with criminal records get jobs – an effort that not only changes the course of people’s lives, but helps employers find motivated workers at a time of historically low unemployment.
NY Retail Council Training
ILR Program Helps People with Criminal Records Return to Workforce

Listen: Candid Conversations about Criminal Record Clearance

Esta Bigler speaks with Rashawn Davis, a policy analyst at The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, about why employment is an important component of reducing recidivism and increasing safety.
Rashawn Davis interviewing Esta Bigler
Listen: Candid Conversations about Criminal Record Clearance

Listen: Cornell Collaboration Delivers Hope

Listen to Esta Bigler ’70, in a conversation with Cornell colleague Rob Scott, discuss her work with incarcerated men seeking jobs.
Cayuga Correctional - Esta Teaching
Listen: Cornell Collaboration Delivers Hope

About Us

  • Director, Labor and Employment Law Programs, ILR School

Esta Bigler, Esq., as Director of Cornell University ILR’s Labor and Employment Law Program, uses her extensive background in labor and employment law to convene conferences and forums studying the

  • Associate Director, ILR Cannabis Workforce Initiative
Sara joined the Labor and Employment Law Program's NYS Cannabis Workforce Initiative in 2022, bringing many years of experience in program administration, curriculum development, and addressing t

  • Program Manager

  • Program Coordinator

In the News

Media Stories

The fine line higher-ed must walk when providing cannabis courses

Higher education cannabis programs occupy a uniquely fraught space on legal minefield between state and federal laws.
ILR conference center building
The fine line higher-ed must walk when providing cannabis courses

Weed and the Workplace

Cortland Standard
NYS stops testing of marijuana in workplace, but there are exceptions.
screenshot of story in Cortland Sun
Weed and the Workplace