Employment Contracts in Three Hours

3.0 substantive credits

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

The employment relationship is one of the foundations upon which modern society and the greater economy is built, but the nature of this relationship can be both complex and confusing. This course seeks to demystify the ways that U.S. contract law principles govern the fundamental relationship between employers and employees.

We begin by examining the default rule of at-will employment that applies to most U.S. employment relationships, and we then consider the necessary elements required to create a binding employment relationship. We also explore how courts interpret the content of employment agreements as well as what factors courts consider in awarding damages when an employment agreement is breached. Finally, we take a deeper dive into employment-related agreements such as non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement agreements, and mandatory arbitration clauses, and how the law has evolved to keep up with the changing nature of the fundamental employment relationship.

Lecturer: Professor Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Professor of Law and Psychology

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan studies the psychology of legal decision-making. Her research addresses the role of moral judgment in legal decision making, with a particular focus on private contracts and negotiations.

She uses experimental methods from psychology and behavioral economics to ask how people draw on their moral intuitions to motivate or inform legal choices. Recent research topics include mortgage borrowing and default, retirement planning, contract precautions, and the cognitive and emotional response to breach of contract.

In 2012 she was awarded the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course.


Your Instructor


University of Pennsylvania Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Course Curriculum


  Employment Contracts in Three Hours
Available in days
days after you enroll

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