A culture of discrimination: Evidence from civil rights litigation against U.S. corporations

58 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2022 Last revised: 8 Feb 2024

See all articles by Casey Dougal

Casey Dougal

Florida State University

Thomas P. Griffin

Villanova University - Department of Finance & Real Estate

Irena Hutton

Florida State University - College of Business

Date Written: February 7, 2024

Abstract

Between 1992 and 2018, U.S. public corporations faced over 36,000 workplace discrimination lawsuits in federal court. Litigation frequency differs widely across firms and regions, correlates with local attitudes toward race and gender, and varies with shocks to cultural tolerance of misconduct. Studying exogenous shifts in competition and financial constraints, we find no evidence that economic forces provide a source of discipline. Consequences are small: shareholder value drops by $1 million around the typical lawsuit, with declining effects for persistent offenders. We conclude that the incidence of workplace discrimination is largely determined by employees’ cultural norms, rather than firms’ economic environment.

Keywords: corporate culture, ESG, shareholder value, workplace discrimination

JEL Classification: G30, G32, J71, K31, M14

Suggested Citation

Dougal, Casey and Griffin, Thomas and Hutton, Irena, A culture of discrimination: Evidence from civil rights litigation against U.S. corporations (February 7, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3967456 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3967456

Casey Dougal

Florida State University ( email )

Tallahasse, FL 32306
United States

Thomas Griffin (Contact Author)

Villanova University - Department of Finance & Real Estate ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.thomaspgriffin.com

Irena Hutton

Florida State University - College of Business ( email )

821 Academic Way
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110
United States
850.645.1520 (Phone)

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