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...
|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...
|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...
|The Federal Judiciary: Strengths and Weaknesses|
by Richard A. Posner (Author)
No sitting federal judge has ever written so trenchant a critique of the federal judiciary as Richard A. Posner does in this, his most confrontational book. Skewering the politicization of the Supreme Court, the mismanagement of judicial staff, the overly complex system of appeals, the threat of originalism, outdated procedures, and the backward-looking traditions of law schools and the American judicial system, Posner has written a cri de coeur and a battle cry. With the prospect that the...
|The Long Reach of the Sixties: LBJ, Nixon, and the Making of the Contemporary Supreme Court|
by Laura Kalman (Author)
The Warren Court of the 1950s and 1960s was the most liberal in American history. Yet within a few short years, new appointments redirected the Court in a more conservative direction, a trend that continued for decades. However, even after Warren retired and the makeup of the court changed, his Court cast a shadow that extends to our own era.
In The Long Reach of the Sixties, Laura Kalman focuses on the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Presidents Johnson and Nixon attempted to...
|Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights (Chicago Series in Law and Society)|
by Lauren B. Edelman (Author)
Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, virtually all companies have antidiscrimination policies in place. Although these policies represent some progress, women and minorities remain underrepresented within the workplace as a whole and even more so when you look at high-level positions. They also tend to be less well paid. How is it that discrimination remains so prevalent in the American workplace despite the widespread adoption of policies designed to prevent it?
One reason for...
|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...
|Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America|
by James Forman Jr. (Author)
Long-listed for the National Book Award
One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017
Short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice
In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points...
|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 Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives|
by Jesse Eisinger (Author)
From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, “a fast moving, fly-on-the-wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission…It is a book of superheroes” (San Franscisco Review of Books).
Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with impunity? The problem goes beyond banks deemed “Too Big to Fail” to almost every large corporation...