Geoffrey Rosenthal

Spring 2014

Year: ILR '14

Cornell Activities/Groups/Affiliations/Leadership Roles:

  • Founder and Editor-in-Chief, ILR Sports Business Society Blog
  • Writing Tutor, John S. Knight Center for Writing in the Disciplines
  • Research Assistant, ILR Organizational Behavior Department
  • Lynah Faithful 2011-2014

Precarious Workers Initiative

Describe your research project: This semester, my research with Professor Griffith has been focused on trying to determine whether fashion models, a group that regularly and ubiquitously faces various wage theft, harassment, and discrimination issues, fit within the definition of "employees" (as opposed to "independent contractors") under state and federal laws, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act.

What have you gotten out of the experience so far? I started this project knowing close to nothing about the fashion industry. By tackling a research question about an industry with which I had little background, I was able to practice applying my research experience and skills onto something about which I had previously given little thought. Being able to do this under the guidance of a professor and in conjunction with other students, as well as the opportunity to speak to the very people whom we hope will benefit from the research, made this a great learning experience and allowed me to prepare even more for future legal research projects.

It was also interesting to see how ILR interacts with outside labor groups and movements and how these groups use the research and assistance provided by ILR to further their causes.

What kind of student might be interested in a research fellowship at the Worker Institute? Someone interested in labor issues (possibly that relate to any discipline), as well students who want to get to know faculty members, accumulate research experience, and learn about something new.