types of law 1

Course Competency: Differentiate between primary and secondary law



Your law firm’s client filed a lawsuit in Texarkana, alleging that she was retaliated against at work in violation of a state workplace safety statute. The employer she works for is a big box retail store, with over 100 employees. The client complained about some concerns she had over the workers moving heavy boxes without assistance. After she complained, she was given the worst shifts and was paid less than employees who had not complained about safety issues. You have located the following sources applicable to her situation:

  • Painter v. Smith. A court case from the district court in which your attorney has filed the case, in which an employee at a fast food restaurant complained about safety issues and was then fired, in contravention of the state workplace safety statute.
  • The 2007 state statute defining workplace safety which makes retaliating against employees for complaining about safety issues illegal.
  • A law review article discussing the Texarkana statute
  • A Texarkana Supreme Court case, Big Bob’s v. Doe, which explains the factors needed to prove violation of the statute
  • A newspaper article describing various cases filed under the Texarkana statute in the last five years
  • A regulation explaining the application of the statute, which authorizes investigations into safety concerns at workplaces in Texarkana.

In a 2 page paper address the following:

  • Explain which of the sources you located are considered sources of law?
  • If you were to begin researching a topic, would you begin your research with a specific source of law? Why?
  • Which sources are primary authority, and how did you come to that conclusion?
  • Which sources are secondary authority, and why?