People at ILR

Ifeoma Ajunwa
people / faculty

Ifeoma Ajunwa

Associate Professor
Labor Relations, Law, and History


Dr. Ajunwa is an Associate Professor (with tenure) of Labor and Employment Law in the Law, Labor Relations, and History Department of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School (ILR), and Associated Faculty Member at Cornell Law School. She is also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard Law School (since 2017).

A 2019 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and a 2018 recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools, Dr. Ajunwa’s research interests are at the intersection of law and technology with a particular focus on the ethical governance of workplace technologies. Her research focus is also on diversity and inclusion in the labor market and the workplace.

Dr. Ajunwa’s scholarly articles have been published or are forthcoming in both top law review and peer review publications including the Fordham Law Review, the California Law Review, the Northwestern Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, The Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Cardozo Law Review, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, and in Research in the Sociology of Work, among others. Dr. Ajunwa has been invited to present her work before governmental agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC), and has served as a keynote speaker at several national and international conferences. Dr. Ajunwa’s law review paper, Limitless Worker Surveillance, (with Kate Crawford and Jason Schultz) has been downloaded more than 3,000 times on SSRN and was endorsed by the NYTimes Editorial Board.

Dr. Ajunwa’s writings has also been published in popular media such as the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Harvard Business Review, the ACLU Blog, and Scientific American etc.

Dr. Ajunwa earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York (emphasis on Organizational Theory and Law and Society). Her doctoral research on reentry received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and honorable mention from the Ford Foundation. Prior to graduate school, she also earned a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and Dr. Ajunwa has been admitted to the Bar in the states of New York and California.

Research Interests:
- Law and Technology
Futures of work - Employment and Labor Law
- Anti-Discrimination Law
- Diversity and Inclusion

Teaching Statement

Professor Ajunwa teaches all levels of students: undergraduate students, professional, and graduate students.

My teaching philosophy is to meet the students where they are. I believe in developing diverse pedagogical approaches that address the divergent learning styles of any class population. Thus, in addition to employing a modified Socratic method, I also engage the students with real-life examples and scenarios via hypotheticals and media. I also teach with business school-style cases (some of which are my original creations) which allows the students to put theory into practice. I believe in a classroom in which the professor is a guide rather than dictator, and in which learning is better accomplished with a shared sense of humor and collaboration/cooperation between students. I also believe in innovative teaching designs, for example, for my undergraduate course on technology in the workplace, I designed a syllabus in which the fiction book, “Player Piano” served as an illustrative companion to the academic texts such as law review articles and management papers that students read as part of the course. Also, in the design of my courses, I always strive to encourage a fair amount of writing by the students, particularly in the form of weekly memos that allow the students to reflect on the papers they have read and to attempt to synthesize the knowledge they have gained from various sources.

Roster of courses taught at Cornell:
-Labor and Employment Law
-Technology, Management, and the Law
- Ethics and Technology
-Technology in the Modern Workplace

Courses previously taught at other law schools:
-Intellectual Property Law
-Health Law
-Mass Incarceration Seminar

Research Statement

As a legal scholar, I am interested in how the law might be employed or improved to address new social developments, particularly those arising from technological advancements. Thus, my law scholarship is at the intersection of Law and Technology, Health Law, Privacy Law, Business Law, Anti-discrimination law and ethics.

As a sociologist, I am interested in how organizations/institutions cope with new social phenomena. Thus, my work is at the intersection of Organizational Theory, Critical Legal Theory, Critical Management Theory, Sociology of Work/Organizations, and Science and Technology Studies. In the context of the workplace, I am interested in how the law deals with the social phenomenon of emerging technologies.

Service Statement

Cornell Service
- appointed a Keeton House Fellow for 2018-2019 and for 2019-2020.
- served on the advisory board of the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) from 2017-2020
- currently serving on the board of Institute for Africa Development (IAD), since 2018.
- Served as mentor for Cornell Future Professors Program

Outside Service:
Professor Ajunwa serves on the editorial board of Research in the Sociology of Work. She also serves as a reviewer for the Yale Law Journal, the California Law Review, Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ), Academy of Management Conference, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Business Ethics, etc.
- Professor Ajunwa has been invited to testify before Congress by the Committee on Labor and Education


Journal Articles

  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. . Algorithms at Work: Productivity Monitoring Platforms and Wearable Technology as the New Data-Centric Research Agenda for Employment and Labor Law, St. Louis Law Journal .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. . The Paradox of Automation as Anti-Bias Intervention, .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa, Angela Onwuachi-Willig. . Combating Discrimination Against the Formerly Incarcerated in the Labor Market, Northwestern Law Review .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. . Age Discrimination by Platforms, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa, Dan Greene. . Platforms at Work: Data Intermediaries in the Organization of the Workplace, Research in the Sociology of Work .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa, Kate Crawford, Jason Schultz. 2017. Limitless Worker Surveillance, California Law Review .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. . Genetic Data and Civil Rights, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review . 51
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. 2016. Health and Big Data: An Ethical Framework for Health Information Collection by Corporate Wellness Programs, Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. 2015. The Modern Day Scarlet Letter, Fordham Law Review . 83
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. 2014. Bad Barrels: An Organizational-Based Analysis of Human Rights Abuses Within the American Carceral System, University of Pennsylvannia Journal of Law and Social Change .
  • Ifeoma Ajunwa. 2014. Genetic Testing Meets Big Data: Torts and Contract Law Issues, .

Honors and Awards

  • Junior Faculty Champion Award, Cornell University .
  • NSF CAREER AWARD, National Science Foundation (NSF). 2024
  • Fellow, ISS Collaborative Team Project, Institute for Social Sciences (ISS) at Cornell University. 2021
  • Derrick Bell Award, American Association of Law Schools (AALS). 2018


Ives Hall Faculty Wing, Room 396