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Lofaso receives Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award

Associate Dean Lofaso will present a lecture entitled “The Autonomous Dignified Worker” on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 in Event Hall (room 180) at the WVU College of Law. The lecture will begin at 4:00 p.m. with a reception immediately following.

Anne Marie Lofaso, professor of law and associate dean for faculty research and development, is one of three WVU professors to receive the Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Awards for 2013-2014

Lofaso earned the award in the Humanities and the Arts category in recognition of her arguments for the legal protection and empowerment of working-class Americans. Articles she has written on workers’ rights have influenced federal lawmakers.

In “Toward a Foundational Theory of Workers’ Rights: The Autonomous, Dignified Worker,” Lofaso uses existing legal definitions of autonomy and dignity to argue that the possession of these two values are essential rights of all workers, rights that should be present in all workplaces and that the law should protect. It appeared in the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law Review in 2007.

Lofaso also argues several subsequent articles that collective bargaining power, as facilitated by labor organizations and unions, is a key tool to providing works with autonomy and dignity.
She has also addressed issues of dignity and autonomy for immigrant workers, as in a February 2013 article, distributed to the U. S. Congress by a progressive think tank, in which she argues that the National Labor Relations Board should have the authority to compel employers to uphold the labor rights of undocumented workers. The Senate version of the most recent immigration law incorporates one of Lofaso’s specific suggestions from this article, that employers who hire undocumented workers and then violate their collective bargaining rights be compelled to pay penalties to the U. S. Treasury.

Lofaso joined the WVU Law faculty in 2007. She earned her B.A. from Harvard, her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania law school, and her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. In 2013, she was a recipient of the West Virginia University Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching.

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