Dr Joe Atkinson
School of Law
Lecturer in Law
+44 114 222 6826
Full contact details
School of Law
I joined the University of Sheffield as a Lecturer in 2019. Before joining Sheffield, I taught at University College London, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Oxford.
My main area of research is employment law, with a particular focus on the protection of human rights at work, and I have a strong interest in philosophical and theoretical approaches to legal scholarship.
Current research projects include work on philosophical and legal aspects of human rights protection within the employment relationship, the role of implied terms in relational contracts, and the regulation of artificial intelligence and 'algorithmic management' in the workplace.
I hold a PhD in law from University College London, and law degrees from the University of Oxford and London School of Economics. I was a visiting researcher at New York University School of Law, and am an Associate Fellow of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.
Before academia I worked in Parliament for several years as a Senior Researcher and Advisor in the shadow Treasury and Justice teams.
- LLM, London School of Economics
- BA Jurisprudence, University of Oxford
- PhD, University College London
- Research interests
- Employment law
- Human rights
- Private law
- Legal theory
- Zero-hours contracts and english employment law: developments and possibilities. European Labour Law Journal, 13(3), 347-374.
- The future of employment: purposive interpretation and the role of contract after Uber. The Modern Law Review.
- ‘Technology managing people’ : an urgent agenda for labour law. Industrial Law Journal, 50(2), 324-329.
- Automated management, digital discrimination, and the Equality Act 2010. Green's Employment Law Bulletin(159).
- Implied Terms and Human Rights in the Contract of Employment. Industrial Law Journal, 48(4), 515-548. View this article in WRRO
- IWGB v RooFoods: Status, Rights and Substitution. Industrial Law Journal. View this article in WRRO
- Workplace monitoring and the right to private life at work. Modern Law Review, 81(4), 688-700.
- A Purposive Approach to Labour Law. Industrial Law Journal, 46(2), 303-308.
- Worker voice and algorithmic management in post-Brexit Britain. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research.
- Algorithmic Management and the Risk to Rights at Work In Quintavalla A & Temperman J (Ed.), Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights OUP
- Human Rights as Foundations for Labour Law In Collins H, Lester G & Mantouvalou V (Ed.), Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law OUP View this article in WRRO
- Johnson v Unisys Ltd (2001): A Compelling Constitutional Vision of Common Law and Statute? In Bogg A, Davies A & Adams-Prassl J (Ed.), Landmark cases in labour law
- 'Brexit: The Impact on Social and Workers Rights', briefing paper prepared for the Equal Rights Trust.
- 'Legislative Implementations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: A Comparative Review', briefing paper prepared for the Special Advisors to the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
- ‘Automated management and liability for digital discrimination under the Equality Act 2010’.
- 'COVID-19 and employee rights: securing the right to safe working conditions'.
- 'Gender and the Future of Work' briefing paper prepared for the Tribune Group of Labour MPs.
- ‘Parliamentary Intent and the Sewel Convention as a Legislatively Entrenched Political Convention’, U.K. Const. L. Blog.
Title/Description Awarding Body People Involved Dates Amounts 'AI and Employment Law' Society of Legal Scholars SICCL and SPERI Years funded: 2020-21. £3000
- Teaching interests
I largely teach in my own areas of research, which means I am able to deliver research-led teaching that gives students an insight into the new ideas and emerging trends in these fields.
I encourage students to reflect critically on the areas of law that I teach; what are they trying to achieve, and does the current law fulfil these aspirations? I also believe that it is important to understand the social and policy context within which the law operates.
This is not only far more interesting than merely learning a set of rules, it also develops students’ ability to think deeply and make coherent arguments about complicated legal issues. As a result, I expect my students to not just be able to understand the law, but also to engage with it normatively; what’s good about the law, what reforms are desirable?
- Teaching activities
- Employment Law
- Public Law
- Contemporary Issues in Law
- Discrimination in Employment Law
- Professional activities
I am a member of the Society of Legal Scholars, the Institute of Employment Rights, and the Industrial Law Society.
Recent invited papers and keynote lectures
- Invited participant at Oxford University workshop on 'Spotlight on Algorithmic Decision-Making' as part of Undoing Discriminatory Borders project (October 2020).
- Invited presenter at Modern Law Review funded workshop on 'The Horizontal Effect of Human Rights in the UK and Beyond' (September 2020).
- Invited presenter at workshop on 'The political economy of the Covid-19 crisis' hosted by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (August 2020).
- J. Atkinson, 'Human Rights and the Scope of Employment Law', presented at the Labour Law Research Network Conference in Valperaiso (2019)
- Invited participant at Modern Law Review seminar on 'The Future of Human Rights at Work' at the University of Essex (2019)
- J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights at Work and Implied Terms in the Contract of Employment’, presented at the London Labour Law Discussion Group (2018).
- J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights at Work and Implied Terms in the Contract of Employment’ presented at the Oxford Labour Law Discussion Group (2017).
- J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights as Foundations for Labour Law’ presented at the Labour Law Research Network Conference in Toronto (Jule 2017).
- J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights and Labour Law’, presented at RemarkLab Workshop at Stockholm University (2016).