It is no secret that since the 1980s, American workers have lost power vis-à-vis employers through the well-chronicled steep decline in private sector unionization. American workers have also lost power in other ways. Those alleging employment discrimination have fared increasingly poorly in the courts. In recent years, judges have dismissed scores of cases in which workers presented evidence that supervisors referred to them using racial or gender slurs. In one federal district court, judges dismissed more than 80 percent of the race discrimination cases filed over a year. And when juries return verdicts in favor of employees, judges often second guess those verdicts, finding ways to nullify the jury's verdict and rule in favor of the employer. Most Americans assume that that an employee alleging workplace discrimination faces the same legal system as other litigants. After all, we do not usually think that legal rules vary depending upon the type of claim brought. The employment law scholars Sandra A. Sperino and Suja A. Thomas show in Unequal that our assumptions are wrong. Over the course of the last half century, employment discrimination claims have come to operate in a fundamentally different legal system than other claims. It is in many respects a parallel universe, one in which the legal system systematically favors employers over employees. A host of procedural, evidentiary, and substantive mechanisms serve as barriers for employees, making it extremely difficult for them to access the courts. Moreover, these mechanisms make it fairly easy for judges to dismiss a case prior to trial. Americans are unaware of how the system operates partly because they think that race and gender discrimination are in the process of fading away. But such discrimination still happens in the workplace, and workers now have little recourse to fight it legally. By tracing the modern history of employment discrimination, Sperino and Thomas provide an authoritative account of how our legal system evolved into an institution that is inherently biased against workers making rights claims.
|Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality|
by Ellen Berrey (Author), Robert L. Nelson (Author), Laura Beth Nielsen (Author)
Gerry Handley faced years of blatant race-based harassment before he filed a complaint against his employer: racist jokes, signs reading “KKK” in his work area, and even questions from coworkers as to whether he had sex with his daughter as slaves supposedly did. He had an unusually strong case, with copious documentation and coworkers’ support, and he settled for $50,000, even winning back his job. But victory came at a high cost. Legal fees cut into Mr. Handley’s winnings, and...
|Discrimination Laundering: The Rise of Organizational Innocence and the Crisis of Equal Opportunity Law|
by Tristin K. Green (Author)
While discrimination in the workplace is often perceived to be undertaken at the hands of individual or 'rogue' employees acting against the better interest of their employers, the truth is often the opposite: organizations are inciting discrimination through the work environments that they create. Worse, the law increasingly ignores this reality and exacerbates the problem. In this groundbreaking book, Tristin K. Green describes the process of discrimination laundering, showing how judges are...
|We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights|
by Adam Winkler (Author)
We the Corporations chronicles the revelatory story of one of the most successful, yet least known, “civil rights movements” in American history.
We the Corporations chronicles the astonishing story of one of the most successful yet least well-known “civil rights movements” in American history. Hardly oppressed like women and minorities, business corporations, too, have fought since the nation’s earliest days to gain equal rights under the...
|The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America|
by Richard Rothstein (Author)
A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Best Books of 2017
Long-listed for the National Book Award
"Rothstein has presented what I consider to be the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation." ―William Julius Wilson
In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth...
|Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court (The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures)|
by Paul Finkelman (Author)
The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War―Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story―upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the Court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In Supreme Injustice, the distinguished legal historian Paul Finkelman establishes an...
|A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History|
by Jeanne Theoharis (Author)
Praised by The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Bitch Magazine; Slate; Publishers Weekly; and more, this is "a bracing corrective to a national mythology" (New York Times) around the civil rights movement.
The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement...
|Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law|
by James Q. Whitman (Author)
How American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany
Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have...
|The Missing American Jury: Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries|
by Suja A. Thomas (Author)
Criminal, civil, and grand juries have disappeared from the American legal system. Over time, despite their significant presence in the Constitution, juries have been robbed of their power by the federal government and the states. For example, leveraging harsher criminal penalties, executive officials have forced criminal defendants into plea bargains, eliminating juries. Capping money awards, legislatures have stripped juries of their power to fix damages. Ordering summary judgment, judges...
|Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue|
by Catherine L. Fisk (Author)
Required to sign away their legal rights as authors as a condition of employment, professional writers may earn a tidy living for their work, but they seldom own their writing. Writing for Hire traces the history of labor relations that defined authorship in film, TV, and advertising in the mid-twentieth century. Catherine L. Fisk examines why strikingly different norms of attribution emerged in these overlapping industries, and she shows how unionizing enabled Hollywood writers to...
|#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media|
by Cass R. Sunstein (Author), Cass R. Sunstein (Afterword)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, a revealing account of how today's Internet threatens democracy―and what can be done about it
As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It's no accident that on some occasions,...