Labor Studies & Employment Relations

Diversity in the Workplace

Do you have a passion for understanding the situation of, and improving the treatment of, a particular group of Americans—such as Asian Americans, Haitian immigrants, or people with disabilities?

There is much to learn about how to achieve social justice for everyone by studying the struggles of various diverse groups in the workplace and in society.

Careers Related to Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity specialist. Diversity professionals work in all types of organizations. They not only help ensure compliance with state and federal laws, but they also help employers foster the talent present in all of their employees. A Master of Labor and Employment Relations degree and/or a graduate Certificate in Diversity and Workplace Inclusion, also offered by SMLR, prepares students for higher-level jobs in this field; the undergraduate program in Labor Studies and Employment Relations is a good place to start.Bachelor Student in classroom

Public policy advocate. There are a variety of interest organizations representing the needs of various groups in our society: immigrants, the disabled, women, African Americans, Muslim Americans, and so on. Work-related issues are hugely important to all these different groups, and individuals with a background in workplace diversity will be a valuable resource for these organizations.

Public agency staff. Specialized public agencies exist to enforce the law on discrimination at various levels of government. These range from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Some staff jobs are open only to attorneys but others may be filled by individuals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Obtaining a degree with a focus on diversity in the workplace will make you a stronger candidate for these positions.

Attorney. Attorneys work in law firms, corporations, unions, other employee-rights organizations, and government or nonprofit institutions like universities. Many deal with discrimination-related law or immigration law—some on behalf of plaintiffs and some on behalf of defendants. Labor Studies and Employment Relations provides an excellent preparation for law school, and an eventual career as an attorney specializing in these areas.

What is required?

  • For the major concentration:

    To complete a concentration in Diversity in the Workplace, you must fulfill all the requirements of the major, including Employment Law (37:575:315) and three courses from the list below. Courses in the concentration count toward the major.

  • For the minor:

    To complete a minor in Diversity in the Workplace, six courses are required. You must take either Introduction to Labor Studies and Employment Relations (37:575:100) or Work, Society, & the Quality of Life (37:575:110); Employment Law (37:575:315); three courses from the list below, and one other course offered by the Labor Studies & Employment Relations Department.

  • Courses specific to the Diversity in the Workplace Concentration or Minor:

    A. Must take:
    37:575:315 Employment Law
    37:575:316 Employment Discrimination Law

    B. Must take at least three in addition to what is taken in category A.

    37:575:303 Black Workers in American Society
    37:575:307 Latino Workers in the U.S.
    37:575:309 Working Women in American Society
    37:575:315 Employment Law
    37:575:316 Employment Discrimination Law
    37:575:320 Immigrant Workers and Their Rights
    37:575:321 Immigration Law & Employment Rights
    37:575:335 Women and the Labor Movement in the U.S. and Globally
    37:575:364 Diversity in the Workplace
    37:575:365 Disability, Work, and Society
    37:575:366 Asian American Workers in a Global Context
    37:575:367 Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
    37:575:368 Professional Development Strategies

Department Faculty with Considerable Teaching or Research in this Area:

Vik Advani, J.D., Rutgers, Camden
Dana Britton, Professor, Ph.D, Texas
Dorothy Sue Cobble, Professor II, Ph.D, Stanford
James Cooney, Instructor, J.D., University of Miami
Andrea Estepa, Instructor, Ph.D., Rutgers
Janice Fine, Associate Professor, Ph.D, MIT
Carla Katz, Instructor, J.D., Seton Hall
Tamara Lee, Assistant Professor, Ph.D, Cornell
Anne-Michelle Marsden, Instructor, MS, Florida State
Lisa Schur, Professor, Ph.D, California
Saunjuhi Verma, Assistant Professor, Ph.D, Chicago

Long-Term Adjunct Faculty:

Dianne McKay, Chair, Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education, NJ DOL
Darcel Lowery, Diversity Trainer and MHRM