Miriam Kullmann appointed professor of Social Law at Utrecht University
Future-proof employment law
As of February 1, 2024, Miriam Kullmann will hold the chair of Social Law at Utrecht University. As a professor, her research focuses, among other things, on future-proof employment law. Due to, among other things, the impact of technological changes as well as underutilized enforcement of existing labour law rules, employment law faces a number of challenges.
Algorithmic decision-making is more common in the workplace than we think.
If you apply for a job at a large company, there is a good chance that software will first assess your CV before someone from HR will read it. That system, in many cases already makes a pre-selection of who is eligible for the job or not. That is an example of algorithmic decision-making that you can look at critically, says Kullman.
Or take platform labour, for example, via Uber, the system determines which driver gets the job and which does not. How fair is that process?
According to Kullmann, employment law is a very exciting area at the moment.
I see it as a challenge as a legal scholar to conduct research into the challenges that social developments bring and to find answers to them, where possible.” It is not only technological changes that ensure that employment law is regularly confronted with situations that are not always easy to accommodate.
In recent years - and still today - the public debate has focused a lot on making different working forms more flexible: freelance, permanent, secondment, payroll, temporary work or platform work. The question: are you self-employed or not? is still the focus of many lawsuits. There are sometimes voices that say that current employment law no longer meets the needs of employers and workers. That we have to come up with something completely new for the future. That will certainly be true on some points, but I think that there is also a lot to be gained by looking carefully at the enforcement mechanisms of existing labour rights.
There are sometimes voices that say that current employment law no longer works. That we have to come up with something completely new. That will certainly be true on some points, but I think that there is also a lot to be gained by looking carefully at the enforcement mechanisms of existing labour rights.
About Miriam Kullmann
Miriam Kullmann previously worked at Radboud University as an associate professor in the Social Law section and before that at VU Amsterdam in the Social Law section. In 2020-2021 she was a visiting scholar at Harvard University where, as a Schumpeter Fellow, she was part of the multidisciplinary research team 'Comparative Inequality and Inclusion.'
Kullman received his PhD from Radboud University in 2015 with a dissertation entitled: “Enforcement of Labor Law in Cross-Border Situations: A Legal Study of the EU's Influence on the Dutch, German, and Swedish Enforcement Systems.” She received the Levenbach dissertation award for this work.
In addition to her academic work, Kullmann is a deputy judge at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. Since 2022, she has been a national expert in the European Center of Expertise (ECE) in the field of work, employment and labour law. This is a network of employment law experts funded by the European Commission. Miriam Kullmann is also a member of the European Committee for Social Rights, part of the Council of Europe.