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Course Descriptions
USC Gould School of Law

Business and Human Rights     LAW-693

This course will address the emerging field of business and human rights. Traditionally, international human rights norms have constrained the behavior only of states, not of private actors. Furthermore, most multinational corporations have viewed profit generation as their most important objective by far. However, over the last several decades, activists, consumers, and governments have increasingly pressed businesses to address human rights, the health of the environment, corruption, and other “social” concerns and prompted several international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop standards and principles delineating the human rights and other social responsibilities of businesses.  New laws, mandating due diligence procedures for abuse of human rights by companies, started seeing the light in several parts of the world. In response, a number of companies have begun to formulate ESG (environmental, social and governance) policies, including human rights, conduct due diligence, manage and integrate such considerations in corporate policies and practices and set up internal grievance mechanisms. 

 

This course will ​focus on the role of business in the respect of human rights: whether human rights are a responsibility of business; how and in what forms businesses should respect human rights; ​the rise of national and international instruments addressing business behavior and what types of remedies are available for victims of corporate abuse.  The discussions will ​include concrete examples and case studies to allow students to gain a good understanding of the issues and the challenges in this field and enable them to engage with and counsel corporate clients and civil society effectively. Guest speakers from law firm business and human rights departments, corporations or civil society will also be invited to offer their perspectives.

Units 1
Grading Options Numeric or CR/D/F
Exam Type Paper
Writing Requirement No
Skills/Experiential Requirement No

Grading Options: vary with the professor

Professors Teaching This Course