Contesting Workplace Discrimination in Court: Characteristics and Outcomes of Federal Employment Discrimination Litigation 1987-2003

55 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2008

See all articles by Laura Beth Nielsen

Laura Beth Nielsen

American Bar Foundation; Northwestern University - Department of Sociology

Robert L. Nelson

Northwestern University

Ryon Lancaster

University of Chicago

Nicholas Pedriana

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 29, 2008

Abstract

This report summarizes the basic characteristics of these cases based on a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of employment discrimination litigation (hereafter EDL) for the time period 1987-2003. We explored the patterns, characteristics, trends, and outcomes of 1788 randomly selected cases from seven federal judicial districts. We considered a wide range of case characteristics and variables, including:

* Type of discrimination claimed (race, sex, age, national origin, disability, etc.) * Alleged discriminatory issues or practices (hiring, firing, promotion, sexual harassment, etc.) * Case comparisons across judicial districts * Plaintiff characteristics (race, sex, age, etc.) * Plaintiff representation (single or multiple plaintiffs, class-actions, public interest litigation support, etc.) * Case outcomes (settlement, trial, etc.) * Over-time trends in EDL case characteristics and outcomes

Each of the nearly 2,000 cases has been coded for hundreds of variables, but this report summarizes and presents the data in the most straightforward and understandable terms possible. Our findings are generally depicted as simple graphics or figures rather than tables loaded with raw numbers and percentages. Also consistent with the purpose of the report to describe the caseload simply, we leave formal tests of statistical significance for future analysis.

Keywords: civil litigation, courts, employment discrimination, employment civil rights

Suggested Citation

Nielsen, Laura Beth and Nelson, Robert L. and Lancaster, Ryon and Pedriana, Nicholas, Contesting Workplace Discrimination in Court: Characteristics and Outcomes of Federal Employment Discrimination Litigation 1987-2003 (October 29, 2008). American Bar Foundation Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1293784

Laura Beth Nielsen (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-988-6574 (Phone)
312-988-6579 (Fax)

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Robert L. Nelson

Northwestern University ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5415 (Phone)
847-491-9907 (Fax)

Ryon Lancaster

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Nicholas Pedriana

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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