Samuel Estreicher
Samuel Estreicher

Samuel Estreicher is Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law and Director of the Center of Labor and Employment Law and Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University School of Law. He also served as chief reporter of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Employment Law (2015).

Columns by Samuel Estreicher
World Court Issues Another Puzzling Ruling Against Israel Under the Genocide Convention

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Klara Nedrelow discuss the International Court of Justice’s May 24, 2024 order granting additional provisional measures against Israel in response to South Africa’s request, including an analysis of the court’s decision and the separate and dissenting opinions of various judges. Professor Estreicher and Ms. Nedrelow highlight the inconsistencies and potential overreach in the court’s decision, emphasizing the lack of consensus among judges and questioning whether the ICJ has exceeded its jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention by ordering measures that may not be directly related to preventing genocide.

Second Circuit Rebuffs Starbucks Strategy of Seeking Rank-and-File Employee Discovery in Labor Law Injunction Proceeding

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and Peter Rawlings, J.D., discuss the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Leslie v. Starbucks Corp., in which the court vacated a district court’s approval of broad subpoenas served by Starbucks on its employees in a proceeding for temporary injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act. Professor Estreicher and Mr. Rawlings argue that the Second Circuit’s emphasis on the need for discovery requests to be proportional to the limited inquiry in 10(j) proceedings, as well as its recognition of employees’ confidentiality interests in union organizing activities, may influence how courts evaluate such employer requests in future 10(j) litigation, particularly if the Supreme Court adopts a more stringent standard for granting 10(j) relief in the pending Starbucks v. McKinney case.

SEC Expands Employer Cutbacks in Compensation for Erroneous Compensation Awards

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 2L Samuel Ball discuss the SEC’s new Rule 10D-1, which requires securities exchanges to mandate that listed companies adopt policies to recover erroneously awarded executive compensation in the event of an accounting restatement. Professor Estreicher and Mr. Ball explain how the new rule expands the scope of clawbacks compared to previous regulations and shifts the responsibility for implementing them from the SEC to the companies themselves, with the goal of improving compliance and avoiding potential legal challenges.

The World Court Lacks Any Plausible Basis for Directing Provisional Measures Against Israel Under the Genocide Convention

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Klara Nedrelow argue that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) incorrectly imposed provisional measures on Israel regarding its actions in Gaza, as it failed to establish even a preliminary basis for genocide intent required under the Genocide Convention. Professor Estreicher and Ms. Nedrelow contend that South Africa’s allegations lacked plausibility due to the absence of specific intent to destroy the Gazan/Palestinian people, a critical element for genocide, in contrast to previous ICJ rulings that required a higher burden of proof for genocidal intent.

The Laws of War

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher defends Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas, arguing that its actions in Gaza comply with international humanitarian law, particularly the principles of military necessity, distinction, and proportionality. Professor Estreicher refutes claims that Israel is an “occupying power” in Gaza and that the right of self-defense does not apply to non-state actors like Hamas, comparing Israel’s military actions to those of the U.S. against al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The FTC’s Initial Policy Case for Banning All Non-Compete Clauses in Employment Agreements

NYU law professor Samuel Estreicher and JD candidate Alexander Gelfond discuss the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed rule to ban all non-compete clauses in employment agreements, examining the agency’s four main justifications: that non-competes reduce workers’ wages, stifle new business and innovation, exploit workers, and are unnecessary for protecting trade secrets. While supportive of a limited ban on non-competes for workers without access to trade secrets, Professor Estreicher and Mr. Gelfond argue that the FTC needs to further justify its proposed nationwide ban, especially considering potential drawbacks like reduced worker training and lower investment in capital assets.

Future of Affirmative Action in Employment Decisions

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher comments on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down the use of racial preferences in college admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, creating uncertainty about the future of affirmative action in both higher education and employment. Professor Estreicher points out that while the Court opposed the “outright racial balancing” used by the universities, it left room for race-based “make whole” remedies in cases of proven intentional discrimination, raising questions about the permissible extent of race-based remediation and its applicability in various contexts, including employment.

Illinois High Court Holds State Privacy Act Claims Are Preempted in Union-Represented Firms

NYU Law Professor Samuel Estreicher comments on a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois holding that the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act protections do not apply to union-represented workers because claims under the Privacy Act are preempted by Section 301 of the federal Labor Management Relations Act. Professor Estreicher argues that the court’s decision is in tension with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Lingle v. Norge Div., Magic Chef, Inc., and its progeny, which provide that adjudication of an employer’s under the CBA does not generally trigger Section 301 preemption.

FTC Authority to Ban Non-compete Clauses in Employment Agreements?

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Zachary Garrett comment on a notice of proposed rulemaking by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that purports to ban non-compete clauses in employment agreements. Professor Estreicher and Mr. Garrett argue that the authority of the FTC to do so, based on its broad interpretation of Sections 5 and 6(g) of its authorizing statute, is dubious at best.

Ninth Circuit Limits Extraterritorial Reach of Trafficking Victims Protection Act

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Anuja Chowdhury comment on a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit interpreting provisions of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). Professor Estreicher and Ms. Chowdhury explain the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning and conclusion that foreign defendants in TVPA civil actions cannot be found “present” within the meaning of the Act without a showing of either physical presence or purposeful direction of conduct towards the U.S. market.

Transportation Security for New York City Straphangers

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and rising 3L Zachary G. Garrett propose two measures to improve the safety of public transportation in New York City. Specifically, Professor Estreicher and Mr. Garrett suggest that (1) stationing at least one police officer at each turnstile (or set of turnstiles), around the clock, and (2) installing weapons screeners at every subway station would reduce violence and crime.

Employers Should Reconsider Plans to Discharge Employees for Refusing the COVID-19 Vaccine

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and attorney Troy Kessler argue that the termination of workers for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine often contravenes federal, state, and city laws. Professor Estreicher and Mr. Kessler point out that relevant law requires employers to carefully consider requests for religious or medical accommodations.

Are Procedural Rights Under Title VII and Other Antidiscrimination Laws Modifiable or Waivable Outside of an Arbitration Agreement?

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 2L Andrew Vaccaro comment on a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit suggesting that statutory procedural rights are generally waivable by contract outside of arbitration.

Substantial Questions of Statutory Authority Confront OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and 3L Ryan Amelio comment on the unusual move by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decision to require employee vaccinations for employers with a total of 100 or more employees. Estreicher and Amelio explain why it is unclear whether the Agency has authority to mandate vaccinations and testing.

Chamber of Commerce v. Bonta: A Temporary Reprieve for California AB 51, Which Prohibits Conditioning Employment on the Waiver of the Right To Litigate?

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and appellate lawyers Rex Heinke and Susan Yorke discuss a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which the appellate court reinstated California AB 51, which prohibits employers from conditioning employment on an applicant’s waiver of various rights, including the right to litigate. The authors note that the ruling creates a circuit split and may even be at odds with recent Supreme Court case law.

The Justice Department’s OLC Thinks Your Company Can Mandate the COVID-19 Vaccine, Even If Not Fully Approved

Elena J. Voss, associate general counsel at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher, dissect an opinion by the Office of Legal Counsel that squarely answers in the negative the question whether the Emergency Use Authorization status of COVID-19 vaccines precludes public or private entities from mandating those vaccines. Ms. Voss and Professor Estreicher point out that while the OLC opinion is neither binding nor authoritative, it is well-reasoned and indicative of the Biden administration’s view on this topic and can provide some assurance to employers who wish to implement a vaccine mandate.

Supreme Court to Decide if International Commercial Arbitrations Are “Foreign or International Tribunals” to Whom U.S. Federal Courts Can Provide Discovery Assistance

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and appellate lawyers Rex Heinke and Jessica Weisel comment on a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear next term that presents the question what role, if any, federal courts should play in facilitating discovery in foreign arbitrations. The authors argue that while the case seems to turn on a simple matter of statutory interpretation, the case may shed new light on how the current Court approaches traditional interpretive tools.

U.S. Supreme Court Again Restricts the Viability of International Human Rights Lawsuits in Federal Courts Under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and Hofstra Law professor Julian G. Ku comment on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nestlé v. Doe, in which the Court held that mere “corporate activity” within the United States is not enough to satisfy the general presumption against the extraterritorial application of federal law. Professor Estreicher and Ku point out that questions about the scope of future ATS claims or corporate liability may never be resolved if the vast majority of ATS claims are dismissed as a result of the Court’s reinvigorated extraterritoriality test.

NCAA v Alston: A Brave New World for College Sports

NYU law professor Samuel Estreicher and adjunct professor Zachary Fasman comment on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week in NCAA v. Alston, in which the Court held that the NCAA’s attempt to limit compensation to student athletes to preserve their amateur status is subject to the normal rule of reason analysis applied in antitrust cases. Professors Estreicher and Fasman note that the effect of conflicting and competing state name, image and likeness (NIL) regulation on the consumer market—the market at the core of the Court’s analysis in Alston—remains to be seen.

Hamas, Not Israel, Violated International Humanitarian Law

NYU Law professor Samuel Estreicher and Hofstra Law professor Julian G. Ku argue that, with regard to recent armed hostilities in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s use of force likely conformed to applicable international laws of war and was legally justified, whereas Hamas’s actions repeatedly violated the core, bedrock principle that civilians cannot be targeted. Professors Estreicher and Ku point out that the presently known facts support the conclusion that Israel complied with customary international law, codified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their subsequent protocols: use of force is limited to (1) situations of military necessity; (2) where the use of force makes a distinction between combatants and non-combatants; and (3) where the use of force is proportionate to the concrete military objective sought to be achieved.