The Law and Economics of Employment Discrimination Law

Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-41

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance (forthcoming)

57 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2018 Last revised: 25 Oct 2018

See all articles by Joni Hersch

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Blair Bullock

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Date Written: August 9, 2018

Abstract

The labor market is governed by a panoply of laws, regulating virtually all aspects of the employment relation, including hiring, firing, information exchange, privacy, workplace safety, work hours, minimum wages, and access to courts for redress of violations of rights. Antidiscrimination laws, especially Title VII, notably prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Court decisions and legislation have led to the extension of protection to a far wider range of classes and types of workplace behavior than Title VII originally covered.

The workplace of the early 21st century is very different from the workplace when the major employment discrimination statutes were enacted, as these laws were conceived as regulating an employer-employee relationship in a predominantly white male labor market. Prior emphasis on employment discrimination on the basis of race and sex has been superseded by enhanced attention to sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. Concerns over the equity or efficiency of the employment-at-will doctrine recede in a workforce in which workers are increasingly categorized as independent contractors who are not covered by most equal employment laws. As the workplace has changed, the scholarship on the law and economics of employment law has been slow to follow.

Keywords: Law and Economics, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination, Regulation, Antidiscrimination Laws, Title VII

JEL Classification: J3, J7, K0, K38, K4

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni and Bullock, Blair, The Law and Economics of Employment Discrimination Law (August 9, 2018). Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance (forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3243497 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3243497

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

Blair Bullock

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ( email )

One Federal Place
1819 Fifth Ave.
North Birmingham, AL 35203
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
99
Abstract Views
514
rank
263,639
PlumX Metrics