I'm trying to find some documentation on how are the rights of academic workers defined and protected by law in my country. Unsurprisingly, all I found is strictly administrative stuff related to degrees and diplomas, but nothing specific on actual academic worker rights.

I want to know if US and western EU have defined within their laws what an academic worker is and what are their additional rights and obligations compared to other types of workers, if academic freedom is in any way protected by law, or not.

  • Try the Law Stack...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 12, 2019 at 9:38
  • 1
    May I know what kind of rights you are looking for, as an academic in your country. Your question is interesting for a junior researcher like me.
    – user103209
    Apr 12, 2019 at 12:51
  • Are you looking specifically for workers' rights in academia, i.e. the field of labour law? Or are you looking for the freedom and regulation of science and teaching?
    – henning
    Apr 12, 2019 at 13:17
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    The question is quite broad, given the number of involved countries and different legal systems. Specifying a country would improve it, I think.
    – Tommi
    Apr 12, 2019 at 13:47
  • By "academic worker" do you strictly mean faculty? Apr 12, 2019 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


In Germany and Austria academic freedom is part of the constitution.

German Art 5.3 GG:

Kunst und Wissenschaft, Forschung und Lehre sind frei. Die Freiheit der Lehre entbindet nicht von der Treue zur Verfassung.

translated to English:

Art and scholarship, research, and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.

Austrian Art. 17.1 StGG:

Die Wissenschaft und ihre Lehre ist frei.

translated to English:

Science and its teaching is (sic) free.

  • I've added the example of Austria. Seems easier to have them together rather than in different answers. Roll back, if you think otherwise.
    – henning
    Apr 12, 2019 at 13:16

I suggest you look at the Wikipedia entry for Academic Freedom, which has specific information for many countries.

In particular, in the case of the US it says that the accepted principles of academic freedom are not bound by the law:

United States

In the United States, academic freedom is generally taken as the notion of academic freedom defined by the "1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure", jointly authored by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Association of American Colleges (AAC, now the Association of American Colleges and Universities).[24] These principles state that "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject."[24] The statement also permits institutions to impose "limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims", so long as they are "clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment".[24] The Principles have only the character of private pronouncements, not that of binding law.

  • True enough, but the principle is so ingrained in US academia that it is seldom breached. When it is, it generally results in an uproar.
    – Buffy
    Apr 12, 2019 at 13:10
  • More specifically in the US they are bound by contract law because universities typically encode it in their employment policies and contracts with the faculty. Apr 12, 2019 at 15:48

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