In a guest column for JURIST, Distinguished Professor Ruthann Robson discusses the feasibility of labeling garments manufactured under proper conditions as “sweat-free” in the aftermath of the factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 600 garment workers. “The current labels reveal little, even when they purport to identify the country of origin. Instead, the law should require retailers to certify that each item of apparel offered for sale is sweat-free, or to disclose by a prominent label that it is not, and thus provide consumers with the type of information they require to exercise ethical choices,” writes Robson. “Requiring labels on garments that provide the necessary details of their production should survive the First Amendment under the doctrines of commercial, and even compelled, speech.”
Prof. Robson teaches in the areas of constitutional law, family law, feminist legal theory, and sexuality and the law. She is the author of many articles in such journals as New York Law School Journal of Human Rights, Albany Law Review, Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Hastings Law Journal, Australian Feminist Law Journal, and Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence. Prof. Robson’s upcoming book, Dressing Constitutionally, will be available August 15, 2013.