Bloomberg Businessweek Quotes University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Orly Lobel

Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law Orly Lobel

San Diego (February 13, 2018) - University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Orly Lobel was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek regarding a lawsuit brought on behalf of 90,000 plaintiffs.

These plaintiffs comprise a newly certified class for a class action lawsuit which alleges that wage-fixing artificially depressed the earnings in the U.S. Au Pair program. The plaintiffs are suing 15 private agencies which are authorized by the government to allow foreign workers to enter on a J-1 cultural exchange visa. These workers then provide live-in child care to host families.

Besides claiming wage-and-hour allegations as well as fraud allegations, the suit also alleges violations of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act claiming that Au Pairs were falsely told their maximum weekly wage was $195.75 no matter which agency they worked for. However a U.S. magistrate judge wrote in 2016, “There is no evidence that the federal government ‘directs,’ or in any other way mandates, that an au pair’s wages are set at $195.75.” As such, sponsors should not be immune from antitrust laws simply because there is a cultural aspect to the work arrangement.

According to Lobel, “If the agencies were truly competing against each other in recruiting au pairs, there would be more of a race to the top.”

““There is no reason that each au pair, regardless of her prior experience and education level, would all just work for minimum wage.”” Lobel said.

Professor Lobel has been researching wage fixing in the labor market and has published a book on the subject of talent mobility and competition Talent Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids and Free-Riding (Yale University Press). She has also published an earlier article about the market for care workers, including Au-Pairs and nannies, and the roles of intermediary agencies in maintaining fair and just employment standards – Class and Care: The Roles of Private Intermediaries in the In-Home Care Industry in the United States and Israel, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.

Read the full story online. 

About Professor Orly Lobel

Orly Lobel is the Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law at the University of San Diego, where she teaches and writes in the areas of employment law, intellectual property law, regulatory and administrative law, torts, behavioral economics, health policy, consumer law and trade secrets. Her current research focuses on innovation policy and intellectual property. Lobel ‘s works include Talent Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free-Riding (Yale University Press, 2013); “The Incentives Matrix: The Comparative Effectiveness of Rewards, Liabilities, Duties and Protections for Reporting Illegality” in 88 Texas Law Review 1151 (2010); “Citizenship, Organizational Citizenship, and the Laws of Overlapping Obligations” in 97 California Law Review 433 (2009); Encyclopedia of Labor and Employment Law and Economics (Dau-Schmidt, and Harris, eds.) (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009); “Behavioral Versus Institutional Antecedents of Decentralized Enforcement in Organizations: An Experimental Approach” in 2 Regulations & Governance 165 (with Feldman) (2008); “Stumble, Predict, Nudge: How Behavioral Economics Informs Law and Policy” in 108 Columbia Law Review 2098 (with Amir) (2008); “The Paradox of Extra-Legal Activism: Critical Legal Consciousness and Transformative Politics” in 120 Harvard Law Review 937 (2007); and “The Renew Deal: The Fall of Regulation and the Rise of Governance in Contemporary Legal Thought” in 89 Minnesota Law Review 342 (2004). Her articles have won several awards including the Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Irving Oberman Memorial Award. Lobel is a frequent speaker at universities throughout Asia, Europe and North America. She was USD's Herzog Endowed Scholar for the 2012-13 academic year and was the 2013-14 recipient of USD’s Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 20th nationally and 4th on the West Coast in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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