A 3 semester-hour Business or Elective Credit Course
This course is designed to provide you with an overview of various legal concepts and principles impacting business. It introduces you to a broad array of information and develops relevant skills encompassing the dynamic nature of the legal environment and its relationship to the transactional and functional aspects of business by incorporating unique instructional methodologies that combine theory with real life case examples of practical application and significance.
The BMGT 378 Legal Environment of Business course involves an overview of fundamental legal concepts and principles that affect business in a variety of functional and regulatory environments. Primary topics include the interplay among business, ethics, and law and between legal reasoning and research; the judicial system and conflict resolution; and torts and business crimes. Important global concepts are discussed.
BMGT 378 is designed for students who are interested in, but who have little or no experience of legal issues and how the Law affects Business. It gives you an overview of legal concepts, theories, principles and issues that affect everyday business decisions, and can be used as an introduction to the more specialized BMGT 380 and 381 courses
Until the beginning of the last century, the business community was largely free to organize its legal relations in any way it chose. But increasing industrialization towards the end of the 19th century had given rise to labor unions, had led to increased concentrations of economic power in the hands of huge trusts and robber barons, had led to increased injuries in the workplace and to the demand for greater consumer protection and product liability. The scene was set for Government to challenge the power of Business. What followed the passage of the 1895 Sherman Anti-Trust Act was 30-40 years of constitutional wrangling over the power of the federal government to interfere in the everyday life of businesses.
The federal government won that first round just before the Second World War, and what followed the war was half a century of developing federal administrative agency law. The pervasiveness of federal regulation is impressive: we all recognize the alphabet soup - EPA, OSHA, the SEC, NLRB, EEOC - even NAFTA.
But what has happened very recently - just in the last few years - is a sea change in thinking about regulation and the federal government is giving ground both to businesses and to state governments in some areas. It started under President Reagan, picked up speed after the 1994 Congressional elections, and continues today under the current Bush Administration and the Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
We have also witnessed an amazing transformation in business in the last decade as a result of "globalization" that has fundamentally altered the relations between Goverment and Business. Did you know that of the world's largest economies, 51 are now corporations and only 49 are nation-states? One hundred multinationals now control 20% of global assets. The sales of GM and Ford are bigger than the GDP of all of sub-Saharan Africa. Wal-Mart has higher revenues than most East European nations. And corporations are using their enormous musclepower to gain advantages. Borden Chemicals has had $15 million of corporate tax wiped off its bill in Louisiana over the past decade in an effort by the state to keep the corporation domiciled there. In Arkansas, the state spent $10 million to attract Frito Lay to Jonesboro in 1998, at a time when Arkansas is not exactly the richest state in the country. Walmart pays no property taxes in Ohio. States (read local people) find themselves begging corporations to set up home in their areas to provide jobs, and to do so, they'll waive property taxes that support the local school system, and lower corporate taxes that support the state welfare program. If they don't, the corporation just goes elsewhere -- like Indonesia.
Dominant corporations are increasingly beyond the control of the traditional nation state and democratic institutions. They decide for themselves where to invest, where to pay tax, and how much to pay. These are interesting times we live in: the legal environment in which Business operates is changing all around us even as we study this subject.
For anyone contemplating going into business, the course is a great primer on the forces that have shaped today’s business environment, and a good introduction to the rights and responsibilities of business people in the United States.
Course starts on
Monday, April 5th
Essay due on
Friday April 30th
Weekend of May 8/9th
|Term Papers Due||Monday May 31st|
Proctored Exam Week
Week of 7 – 13 June
|Course Ends||Sunday, June 13th|
|Week & Date||Topics|
|1. April 5||Intro to Law. Constitutional Law Chapters 1 & 6|
|2. April 12||Court System Chapters 3 and 4|
|3. April 19||Property Law Chapter 7|
|4. April 26||Private Law: Torts Chapter 10 10% Essay, due April 30th|
|5. May 3||Private Law: Contracts Chapters 8 & 9 Mid Term -- Weekend May 8/9th|
|6. May 10||Criminal Law Chapter 12|
|7. May 17||Business Organizations: Chapter 14|
|8. May 24||The Regulatory Process & Anti-Trust Chapter 16|
|9. May 31||Labor Laws Employment Laws Chapters 20 & 21 Term paper due Monday May 31st|
|10. June 7||Wrap-up Exam: Week of June 7 - 13th|
Written Assignments: Students are required to complete a research paper applicable to business. You should use the UMUC Library databases & periodicals as the major source for finding the necessary information. All written assignments must conform to the appropriate elements of documentation and style There will also be a mid-term exam, and a final. The exams involve essay-type problems.
Participation: By registering for this course, you have made a commitment to participate regularly and constructively in course assignments and activities as warranted by the instructional medium. You are expected to conduct yourself professionally and adhere to the general rules of academic etiquette, decency, integrity and respect, subject to the expectations of the relevant learning modality and university You will be expected to participate to the fullest extent in course discussions; to complete reading assignments and to answer questions that arise from the readings; and to review material for the class. For a more complete explanation of classwork, please click here. You may wish to note that participation counts towards your final grade, which will be determined by the quality, analytic depth, timeliness and responsiveness to all assignments, activities and discussions.
Preparation: Read and study the assigned text and other related materials ahead of time. Prepare critical questions and answers on reading assignments for class discussion.
Assignments: Submit assignments on time. Points will be deducted for late submission unless otherwise indicated. You are responsible for keeping copies of all your work, including graded examinations and assignments, and you must be able to produce them if needed.
Examinations: Examinations include essay questions which are based on a given set of facts containing issues that you will have to identify and resolve based on the following criteria:
Make-up examinations: There will be no make-up exams except in cases of unavoidable circumstances which must be verified, and comply with university policy.
Incomplete: No Incomplete(s) will be given except in cases of bona fide emergencies and with completion of 60% of the course requirements as demonstrated by regular and satisfactory class performance and in accordance with university policy.
In assignments and exams, I am looking for evidence that you have read and understood the material, and that you are capable of thinking critically about that information and applying basic legal principles to everyday business problems. I do not set true/false or multiple-choice questions; I want students to be able to explain how particular situations are likely to be viewed by the courts. My questions are usually in the format of "Explain how..." or "Discuss..." or "Advise your client on...". To the extent that clear, cogent explanations depend on language skills, your grammar and sentence skills will be taken into account.
My exams offer a choice of questions, but are designed to test your knowledge of the entire course’s material.
From the UMUC Catalog:
Students should understand that the quality of their writing will affect their grade point average.... Acceptable college-level writing expresses thoughts in a logical, well-organized form, using proper grammar and complete sentences, and correct punctuation and spelling.
W - Withdrawal
Cases of plagiarism are handled consistent with current UMUC guidelines. See the UMUC policies at the following URL: http://www.umuc.edu/policy/
Remember that there is a 20% component of the final course grade based on participation.
At a minimum, you should pick up and respond to messages every other day (minimum three times per week). Your contributions needn't be lengthy essays: try to emulate how you would contribute to a conversation going on in a live classroom. I also look for / expect a minimum of three posts per conference, including your own postings AND a substantive reply to someone else's work. I'd really like to see you working with your colleagues in the class rather than carrying out a dialogue with me (or a monologue with no-one in particular).
By registering for this course, you have made a commitment to participate regularly and constructively in course assignments and activities as warranted by the instructional medium. You are expected to conduct yourself professionally and adhere to the general rules of academic etiquette, decency, integrity and respect, subject to the expectations of the relevant learning modality and university policy. Participation counts towards your final grade, which will be determined by the quality, analytic depth, timeliness and responsiveness to all assignments, activities and discussions.
If you are going TDY or into the field and will be absent for a "substantial" length of time, you may be required to withdraw: in a 14-week class, absence for more than two weeks may require withdrawal. I will consider absences cumulatively -- a series of week-long absences is as detrimental as one continuous absence. You need to get my permission in advance to be absent from class discussions. No exceptions, please.
Also, be forewarned: keeping up with participation is more work than you might think, and especially as the semester wears on and your other in- and out-of-course responsibilities add up, the work involved in participating may seem overwhelming. However, keep the participation grade in mind. (Simply listening to the conversations does not count as participation. You must write to get credit.) If you pass all the problems but never contribute to discussion, you should expect nothing better than a C- for the participation component of your final grade, and that can and does mean the difference between an A and a B grade, or a C and a D grade.