The new business law program promises answers to difficult questions about equality and inclusion

What are some recommendations to help make a business more welcome in the LGBTQ community?

What employment rights does an employee have after long recovery from COVID-19?

And do new technology-based corporate recruitment tools eliminate or exacerbate sexism and racism in the workplace?

These are some of the questions lawyers will address in UConn’s “Equity Now!” Business law series, open to students, faculties, alumni, friends of UConn and other sponsoring institutions.

This series of lectures will address legal issues relevant to underrepresented groups under one collective umbrella, says business law professor Robert Bird, who organized the UConn-sponsored program.

“These legal and social issues are of great interest not just to our students but to the entire business world as we navigate a rapidly changing world,” says Bird. “I hope people will lose a better understanding of how the law can advance the interests of under-represented groups in business and society.”

Speakers will explain what rights individuals have and how subtle and overt discrimination against underrepresented groups can have profound and lasting effects on society, he said.

“In many ways, the corporate legal environment in the past has built a bridge between today’s governance rules and society’s aspirations for tomorrow,” he said.

The upcoming speaker series are aimed at:

  • “The Promise and Dangers of LGBTQ Rights According to Bostock vs. Clayton County” will be the subject of the presentation by Professor Alex Reed of the University of Georgia on November 16 at 6pm. This US Supreme Court ruling is a landmark ruling outlawing discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Reed will be reviewing the case, investigating its implications, and making recommendations for executives to promote LGBTQ-friendly workplaces.
  • “The legal environment for workers with disabilities: Before, during and after COVID-19” is the subject of the presentation by Professor Marianne DelPo Kulow from Bentley University on February 16. Her talk will highlight the opportunities, challenges, and legal issues faced by workers with disabilities, with an emphasis on how the post-COVID environment can transform the way people with disabilities interact with organizations and their success in organizations.
  • “Gender, Propensity, and Technology in the 21st Century Workplace” will be introduced by Professor Charlotte Alexander of Georgia State University and will conclude the series on March 30th. Alexander will discuss how the #MeToo movement has brought new attention to the ongoing issues of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. At the same time, corporate experimentation with computing tools to assist with recruitment, evaluation and promotion threatens to amplify the effects of systemic sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace. Alexander will explore ways employers can build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.
  • The kickoff program with the title “Law, Race, and Organizations: 2020 and Beyond” was presented on October 26th by Professor Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander of the University of Georgia. She discussed how the deaths of Breanna Taylor, George Floyd, and others by law enforcement have highlighted the life impact of racial discrimination. She examined social forces associated with race, including the current legal environment, and how individuals, managers, and executives can promote a culture free from racial prejudice and bring that culture to a wider society. Your presentation has been recorded and will be available for viewing shortly.

Further information on the series can be found at:

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