Law and Culture in America Are Inseparable | Laws and Issues

Lawrence Friedman, an American law professor and expert in American legal history, once said, “Law is a massive vital presence in the United States. It is too important to be left to lawyers”. This statement advocates the involvement of society in legal matters and subtly sums up the raison d’ĂȘtre of the Law and Society movement. This movement, representing an unchallenged relationship between law and culture, was initiated after the Second World War by some sociologists who took a keen interest in the study of law.The Fusion of Law and CultureLaw cannot be made mutually exclusive of the culture that it operates in. This is because the law of a land is to a large extent defined by the socio-cultural norms and morals. This is the reason why the practice of law varies across countries. This relationship is further strengthened when law becomes interconnected with all aspects of life, from religion to education, medicine, horticulture and other fields.


Do you ever wonder why people feel fascinated by lawyers, judges, intricate legal cases and the judiciary? Why do writers feel the urge to write novels about law? Why do people get mesmerized while reading about lawsuits and legal issues? How do theatre actors transform themselves into subtle and witty attorneys? Because, law has such a strong hold over our society and it is almost impossible to segregate law and culture.Law and Culture in American ContextAmerican sociologists believe law to be itself a cultural form that is formulated, established and shaped by the society in which it operates. Similarly, the culture of a society is formed and modified by the disciplinary legal forces.Moreover, the popular concept of law has now entered the domain of creative arts and media. Various plots and narratives revolve around legal actions that arouse the interest of the spectators, who by nature are always curious about the world of law. These concocted manifestations have changed the very way in which law operates. Today, law and culture mingle together to determine standards that are to be followed by the inhabitants of a particular society.


The Forum on Law, Culture & Society is a public humanities program that invites you to quench your thirst for knowledge on matters related to law and culture. The forum gives you the opportunity to converse with prominent artists and leading public figures. Visit http://www.forumonlawcultureandsociety.org/ and join the community. It is open to everyone and free!

Employment Law and Bullying or Harassment | Laws and Issues

Bullying and harassment in the workplace have been hitting the headlines in recent weeks. It appears that this little reported problem is in fact a growing issue in UK workplaces with many employees having spoken out following allegations of bullying in the Prime Minister’s Office.UK employment law states that every employee has the right to be treated with dignity and respect whilst they are at work; this means that they should not be victims of bullying or harassment. ACAS describes bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour or words. The organisation’s definition of bullying goes further to include the abuse or misuse of positions of authority in order to undermine, humiliate or denigrate somebody. Similarly, harassment is defined as any unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of either a man or a woman in the workplace. Harassment may be related to the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race or a disability amongst other things.


Bullying and harassment are not in anybody’s interests in the workplace. These problems cost companies thousands of pounds in inefficiency, low morale and absenteeism each year. As well as this, employers have a legal responsibility, a duty of care, towards their employees to protect them from bullying and harassment in the workplace. This means that according to employment law, an employer must ensure that bullying behaviour is not tolerated.In the times when this responsibility is not fulfilled, either by an employer’s refusal to acknowledge or address the problem, or in cases where it is the boss themselves who is to blame for the bullying or harassment, the employee should consider taking action.Unfortunately, because employment law and particularly the part of the law governing bullying and harassment at work is relatively complex, it is not possible to make a complaint to the employment tribunal about bullying per se. However, if a victim believes that they were bullied on grounds of their sex, race, religion, age, disability or other such factors then they may be able to make a claim using laws governing discrimination and harassment.


If the duty of care to an employee is broken by the employer and the employee does not protect the rights of an employee then the employee has the right to resign and later make a complaint about constructive dismissal, provided that they have worked with the employer for at least 12 months.