Michael Rubenstein

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Michael Rubenstein
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Born (1943-05-13) May 13, 1943 (age 81)
NationalityUnited States
EducationLondon School of Economics
Alma materCornell University
OccupationBritain’s leading commentator on employment law
AwardsLeverhulme Overseas Research Studentship.

Michael Rubenstein (born May 13, 1943) has edited Industrial Relations Law Reports (IRLR) since its inception in 1972. He is widely regarded as Britain’s leading commentator on Labour law.[1]

Early life

Rubenstein was born in Brooklyn, New York and did his first degree at Cornell University. He came to England in 1964 and carried out postgraduate work in both labour economics and law at the London School of Economics, where he was awarded the Leverhulme Overseas Research Studentship.


In 1971, after working at Incomes Data Services, he became Managing Director of Industrial Relations Services and Editor of its first publication, Industrial Relations Review & Report. In September 1972, he founded IRLR, which he has edited ever since and for which he writes an influential monthly commentary, highlights, explaining and critiquing the employment law decisions he has chosen to report. His column is regarded by many in the employment law world as essential reading.[2]


Industrial Relations Services was sold in 1982, but in 1985 Rubenstein was asked to start Equal Opportunities Review (EOR), for which he wrote regularly for 31 years. EOR was the go-to journal covering all aspects of equal opportunities and discrimination legislation and case law. He co-edited EOR until he became its publisher in 2007, after which he continued to write articles about discrimination law until EOR ceased publication in December 2016.

Policy Making and Advisory Work

During his long career, Rubenstein has been involved in policy-making and advisory work at the highest level, mainly on aspects of Anti-discrimination law.[3]

Sexual harassment

In 1987, Rubenstein was asked by the European Commission to conduct an expert study of the problem of sexual harassment at work in the EU Member States, and to make recommendations. His pioneering report, “The Dignity of Women at Work” (1989), recommended a legal definition of sexual harassment and a Code of Practice on preventing and remedying it. Rubenstein then drafted the European Commission Code of Practice on measures to combat sexual harassment at work (1991). The Code took a feminist perspective emphasising that the relevant criterion is whether conduct was wanted by the recipient rather than the intent of the perpetrator. It was adopted by many members of the European Union.

Rubenstein also produced a Guide to implementing the Commission’s Code of Practice (1992), which was published in nine European languages and a Resource Manual. Among other institutions, he advised the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Government of France on sexual harassment policies and procedures.

For his work on sexual harassment, Rubenstein was awarded the Minerva Prize by the Club della Donne as European “Man of the year” for 1991.

Equal pay

Rubenstein was a founder member of the Equal Pay and Opportunity Campaign in the 1970s. In 1984, his book “Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value” was published by Macmillan.


Rubenstein was a member of the Council of Europe expert committee on the future of equality strategies between men and women (1998). He acted as an adviser to the Equal Opportunities Commission on its employment Code of Practice and to the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland on its Code of Practice on recruitment and selection (1996).

11 Race discrimination

Rubenstein was a trustee of the Wainwright Equal Opportunity Development Trust (1987-2012) and advised the Commission for Racial Equality on its Code of Practice on employment (1984)

Disability discrimination

Rubenstein was founder and chair of the Disability Discrimination Act Representation and Advice Project (DDA RAP) from 1997 to 2007 and legal adviser to the Disability Rights Commission on its Code of Practice on access to goods, facilities and services (2004).

Sexual orientation discrimination

Rubenstein was the keynote speaker at the final annual conference held by the Lesbian and Gay Employment Rights group (2003).

Religious discrimination

Rubenstein advised the Fair Employment Commission for Northern Ireland and compiled the first three editions of its Fair Employment case book (1994-96). He is currently a Patron of Humanists UK (formerly British Humanism Association).

Age discrimination

Rubenstein gave the Employment Lawyers Association annual lecture in 2002 on the theme “Golden threads amongst the silver: principles for age discrimination law”. He subsequently ran the TUC consultation on the Government’s proposals for age discrimination.

Honours and other activities

Rubenstein is an Honorary Master of the Bench at Middle Temple.

He is a former Chairman, and now Honorary Vice-President, of the Industrial Law Society, and a member of the editorial committee of the Industrial Law Journal.

For nine years he was a trustee and a member of the management committee of the Equal Rights Trust.(2008-2017)

He was a member of Public Concern at Work’s (now Protect) Whistleblowing Commission (2013) and is now a member of Protect’s Advisory Council.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

In 2017, he gave the Silver Anniversary lecture for the Employment Lawyers Association.[4]

He was a plenary speaker at the annual conference of the European Employment Lawyers Association each year from 2012 through 2018.

He is director of Michael Rubenstein Conferences Ltd and has organised an annual conference on discrimination law for the last 25 years on behalf of the TUC for trade unionists and voluntary sector workers.

He writes and publishes an annual Guide to Discrimination Case Law (32nd edition, 2019).

Michael Rubenstein lives between London and Provence.


  1. "Michael Rubenstein Conferences". Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  2. "Michael Rubenstein | Meet the Experts | LexisNexis". www.lexisnexis.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  3. "Review: Discrimination - a Guide to the Relevant Law by Michael Rubenstein". Daniel Barnett. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  4. "Login to ELA Website | ELA". www.elaweb.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-10.

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