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Through teaching, research and outreach, ILR generates and shares knowledge to solve human problems, manage and resolve conflict, establish best practices in the workplace and inform government policy.

Michael Gold Q&A

Michael Gold

Michael Gold is an associate professor of Labor Relations, Law, & History. Born, reared and educated in California, he received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his formal education with a law degree from Stanford University.

Gold accepted an appointment to the ILR School in 1977, where he teaches courses on ethics, labor and employment law, and the intellectual and moral origins of the American Constitution. He has published introductory books on labor law and on employment discrimination law, as well as articles in scholarly journals on sex discrimination, the theory of disparate impact, age discrimination, levels of abstraction in legal thinking, and a philosophical justification for judicial restraint. 

Do you have current research that you’re working on?

I am currently writing an article on discrimination under section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, in particular, about cases in which an employer allows workers to use the company's email, bulletin board, etc. for personal purposes (e.g., posting a notice of puppies for sale), but prohibits workers from using the same medium for union-related purposes (e.g., announcing a union meeting).

I am also compiling a book of readings to accompany the “American Ideals” course.

How are you able to make such an impact on the students in your classes?  

The joy of teaching is threefold.  First is the student for whom the subject does not come easily, but who works with dedication and learns as much as one can. Second is the student with a good aptitude for the subject, who puts one's best effort into every assignment and learns all that I ask. Third is the student who is gifted in the subject, who takes genuine pleasure in the work, and from whose interesting and original ideas I, too, can learn.

As ILR celebrates its 75th anniversary and looks to the next 75 years, how do you foresee your research contributing to the future of work, labor and employment?

I have no talent for prediction.  I do hope that the article I mentioned above will contribute to expanding workers' rights in the workplace.