Human Rights at Work

Subject LAWS70391 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Human rights law is a subject of growing importance with wide implications. This subject considers how human rights law can be used to regulate private power (the power of the employer) and a private law relationship (the contract of employment). It examines, in particular, workers’ rights in relation to privacy and surveillance, religion and belief, expression and whistle-blowing, as well as freedom of association, and the employer’s duty to accommodate the exercise of these rights. Reflecting the international nature of the discipline, attention will be directed not only to Australian and state law but also to relevant international human rights treaties, together with the law and practice of other common law jurisdictions (notably Canada and United Kingdom).

Principal topics will include:

  • The application of human rights principles to private law relationships
  • The protection of human rights in the specific context of workplace relations
  • Legal protection at work of the right to privacy, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of expression
  • Legal protection of freedom of association, including the operation of the relevant ‘general protections’ in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:

  • Identify the horizontal impact of human rights principles and their specific application to the employment relationship
  • Identify the circumstances in which human rights principles and law operate to constrain the contractual and other powers of the employer


Take-home examination (100%) (21–24 June)
10,000 word research paper (100%) (5 August) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

Download PDF version.