Addressing and Regulating Bias: Law and Management Practice.

Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal. Vol. 42 Issue. 3, 2022

39 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by Lucy Taksa

Lucy Taksa

Deakin Business School

Louise Thornthwaite

Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School

Date Written: November 28, 2021

Abstract

As a means of reducing discrimination and improving diversity in the workplace and organizations, unconscious bias training has been referred to as both a ‘magic bullet’ and ‘pointless’. This article locates the adoption of the concept of unconscious bias in diversity management in relation to the particularities of US discrimination law, in particular US case law on disparate treatment. It argues that the relevance of the unconscious bias concept and training interventions beyond the US where different legal doctrines apply, is highly questionable, particularly given the substantial scholarly critiques of their validity, reliability, and utility. The article highlights how the unconscious bias focus on individual mental states removes individual and organizational responsibility for discriminatory conduct and limits attention to structural disadvantages within organizations that reinforce entrenched inequalities. The article outlines alternative management, legal, and regulatory strategies that can address the challenges of inequity and exclusion by shifting the dial towards higher standards of behaviour.

Keywords: implicit bias, unconscious bias, bias training, diversity management

JEL Classification: J53, J7, k38

Suggested Citation

Taksa, Lucy and Thornthwaite, Louise, Addressing and Regulating Bias: Law and Management Practice. (November 28, 2021). Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal. Vol. 42 Issue. 3, 2022 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4071222

Lucy Taksa (Contact Author)

Deakin Business School ( email )

Burwood, 3125
Australia
+61414345131 (Phone)

Louise Thornthwaite

Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School ( email )

New South Wales 2109
Australia

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