Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Labor law is concerned with the rules governing the various phases of the employment relation and the activities of employers and labor organizations vis-a-vis such phases. Sometimes such rules are embodied in criminal law or tort law. If the substance of the alleged crime or tort is not directed toward or used in some respects as a regulation of employment or labor relations, it is excluded by the above definition even though some "labor" aspect is prominently identified with the case. For example, during the survey period the Supreme Court of Tennessee decided the case of Smith v. State, affirming a criminal judgment resulting from prosecutions of persons active in a labor organization for the crimes of conspiracy to kill and to commit felonious assault. Such a decision falls outside the area of labor law under the foregoing definition, there being nothing to indicate that a regulation of labor relations was involved. This case also illustrates in a negative way the scope of the much-discussed federal preemption doctrine in the field of labor relations.