New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type

Article

Comments

STANFORD LAW REVIEW, Vol. 63, 2011

Abstract

In many areas of regulation, mandating disclosure of information about a firm’s products, services, production processes, or governance is said to improve the efficiency and rationality of market decisions, avoid fraud, and advance pub-lic regulatory goals, all without intruding significantly upon the autonomy of market actors. Yet the idea of regulating through information disclosure has made barely a cameo appearance in the field of labor and employment law. This article begins to fill that void. Mandatory disclosure is no panacea; it may be an overused policy tool in many areas. But in the law of work, mandatory disclosure can play a supportive role both within the ambit of existing substantive mandates and among the many terms and conditions that are above or beyond the reach of substantive mandates. Within the domain of mandatory legal rights or minimum terms, mandatory disclosure may help to improve compliance. Within the large domain that is left to private ordering, mandatory disclosure can improve the op-eration of labor markets by better informing employees’ choices among and bar-gains with employers. And where neither mandates nor markets meet public aspi-rations for more socially responsible, fair, and egalitarian workplaces, manda-tory disclosure may help to press firms to reach beyond compliance by strength-ening and broadening the factual foundation for the reputational rewards and sanctions that are an increasingly significant driver in organizational behavior.

Date of Authorship for this Version

10-2009