I did not get married until I was 50 years old, in 2003. In 1997 I met a lovely, recently-widowed (her husband died in 1996) woman from the New Haven area. We married in 2003. We decided to live in her home in the New Haven area, near her children and grandchild, rather than in my home in Massachusetts. From 2003 to 2008, I commuted from her home to my office in Springfield, which is 60 miles each way. I got tired of this long commute, so I gradually closed my Massachusetts law practice. I became a member of the Connecticut Bar in 2006.
Q. What courses do you teach at the University of New Haven?
A. I teach Economics 629 (Business and Society),
Communications 420 (Communications and the Law),
and Criminal Justice 217 (Criminal Procedure I). I also
occasionally teach Management 645 (Management of
Human Resources) and Law 674 (Business Law and
the Regulatory Environment, a course in UNH's
Emerging Leaders MBA program).
Q. What prompted you to write the two books?
A. This project began 15 years ago (1998) when I was
practicing labor and employment law in Massachusetts.
I felt that labor and employment law was beginning to sound
very complicated to employers. I felt that employers were
becoming too fearful—more fearful than they need to be—of
lawsuits. They were becoming afraid to terminate or discipline any
employee, even an employee for whom termination or discipline was clearly justified. I wanted to calm these employers down and
explain to them that the law is not too complicated and that common sense and decency will usually (not always, but usually) equate
with legal compliance. I wrote 10 rules for employers. Like many authors who come up with 10 rules, I thought a cute title for
them would be the biblical term “Ten Commandments”: “Ten Commandments for Employers” was the title I had in mind. I
included my “Ten Commandments for Employers” in a book I was writing. I called the book Understanding and Preventing
Employee Lawsuits in Massachusetts. I included a little saying to begin each chapter, a saying that I felt captured the essence of my message in that chapter. I found some of the best sayings in The Bible. This surprised me a little because some people think the
Bible causes discrimination, not prohibits discrimination. I concluded that these biblical sayings are very consistent with state and
federal law in the United States. Moreover, I learned, the Bible also tells employers how to operate a profitable, efficient business.
I learned that the Bible is as fair to employers as to employees.
Understanding and Preventing Employee Lawsuits in Massachusetts was published (actually self-published; as the internet became widespread in the late 1990s, self-publishing became a viable way to sell a book) in 1999. Many employers who read it enjoyed not just the legal and practical tips but also the biblical sayings. These employers suggested I write a national version, not just a Massachusetts version, and get it published by a national publisher.
So I wrote a national version. It was unique: a law book that contained some religious quotes. I submitted it to publishers. Some
traditional (non-religious) publishers rejected it because they did not want to insert religion in a how-to legal compliance guide. Some religious publishers rejected it because I am not a theologian and because the religious aspects of the book comprised only about 5%
of the book. To make a long story short, a Christian book publisher, Paulist Press, offered to publish my book. I accepted the offer.
We entitled the book A Legal and Ethical Handbook for Ending Discrimination in the Workplace. Paulist Press published it in 2003.
It sold moderately well but not as well as Paulist Press and I had hoped. In 2008, Paulist Press and I both decided to end our efforts
to sell the book. We both felt that sales were inadequate to justify further effort. I held the copyright, and for a small additional fee
I purchased any remaining rights in the book that Paulist Press owned. Therefore, I had the right to get the book published by another
publisher if I wanted to. But I had basically given up on the project at that point.
By the summer of 2012, this project, which I thought ended in 2008, was the furthest thing from my mind. Then, in the summer of 2012, I was approached by WestBow Press, a new division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., the world’s largest Christian book publisher. WestBow Press offered to publish the book if I completely updated the book and rewrote parts of it. I accepted the offer. I rewrote the book, updated it, and gave it a new title. The result, published by WestBow Press on October 26, 2012, is Some Tips to Prevent Employment Discrimination Lawsuits: A Faith-Based Legal Guide for Managers.
In late 2012 and early 2013, some employers who read Some Tips told me that although they enjoyed it very much, they were a little reluctant to buy copies for their managers to read. They didn’t want to “impose religion” on their managers. I assured them that Some
Tips does not “impose religion” on anyone. Some Tips is for any manager who, at least occasionally, thinks about God and religion
when managing employees. But some employers told me that the legal and practical tips in the book are so good that the religious
aspects of the book are unnecessary. They suggested I write a version that deletes the religious parts, and offer both versions to the
public. An executive, manager, or student can then choose whichever version he or she wants. So I did. The result, published April 12, 2013, by Archway Publishing, a collaboration between Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions, Inc., is Workplace Discrimination Prevention Manual: Tips for Executives, Managers, and Students to Increase Productivity and Reduce Litigation.
Both books are now available. They have different titles and covers, but approximately 95% of the text is the same in each
book. Workplace Discrimination Prevention Manual is the same book as Some Tips to Prevent Employment Lawsuits, minus
the religion. Workplace Discrimination Prevention Manual is for all managers, and also serves as an excellent, inexpensive,
supplemental textbook for use in courses in state universities and private, nonsectarian universities. Some Tips is, likewise, for
anyone who wants it, and is particularly well-suited for courses and managers at Catholic and other Christian or church-related
universities and organizations.
David and his wife, May 20, 2012
Q. What is your background?
A. I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1953. I moved to neighboring Longmeadow in 1961. I earned my B.A. in Economics at George Washington University in 1974 and my J.D. at Washington University in St. Louis in 1977. I was a senior editor of the law review at Washington U. Later in 1977, I returned to Springfield and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. I practiced law in Springfield from 1977 to 2008. I was a general practitioner from 1977 to 1991, then practiced exclusively in the area of labor and employment law, usually on the side of the employer, from 1992 to 2008. Throughout my legal career in Massachusetts, I always devoted part of my time to doing legal research and writing for other lawyers. I really enjoy doing legal research and writing.
I was an adjunct (part-time) professor at Western New England College (now Western New England University, or WNEU) School of Law from 1979 to 1982. I was a part-time TV reporter (I covered law, politics, and some other topics) at WWLP-TV (Channel 22) in Springfield in 1987 and 1988. I was a part-time regulatory compliance analyst at Aetna Life and Casualty Company in Hartford from 1990 to 1992. I was a visiting lecturer at Westfield State College (now Westfield State University) in 2000. I was a senior lecturer at WNEU School of Business from 2001 to 2005. I have taught at UNH (University of New Haven) since 2005. I was an adjunct professor at UNH from 2005 to mid-2010, and since mid-2010 I have been a practitioner-in-residence at UNH.
David and his wife at Rock of Gibraltar
(Spain-Gibraltar) July 6, 2012
Attorney David A. Robinson
teaches in the MBA program at the University of New Haven,
and has written two great new books for employers.
David A. Robinson, P.O. Box 780, North Haven, CT 06473, Tel. (203) 214-4078