When Organizations Rule: Judicial Deference to Institutionalized Employment Structures

68 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2006 Last revised: 26 Aug 2014

Lauren B. Edelman

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program and Center for the Study of Law and Society

Linda Hamilton Krieger

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law

Scott R. Eliason

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Catherine Albiston

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Virginia A. Mellema

Government of the United States of America - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Date Written: June 21, 2006

Abstract

This article offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of legal endogeneity - a subtle and powerful process through which institutionalized organizational practices and structures influence judicial conceptions of legality and compliance. We argue that organizational structures such as grievance procedures, anti-harassment policies, evaluation procedures, and formal hiring procedures become symbolic indicia of compliance with civil rights law. At first these structures may simply be present in the case narrative. But, as they become increasingly institutionalized, judges begin to use their presence or absence in evaluating whether or not an organizational discriminated. Ultimately, these structures becomes so closely associated with rationality and fairness that judges become less likely to scrutinize whether they in fact operate in a manner that promotes nondiscriminatory treatment. To illustrate and test the theory of legal endogeneity, we conduct a quantitative content analysis of 1024 federal civil rights decisions from 1965-1999.

Keywords: civil rights & discrimination; corporate governance

Suggested Citation

Edelman, Lauren B. and Krieger, Linda Hamilton and Eliason, Scott R. and Albiston, Catherine and Mellema, Virginia A., When Organizations Rule: Judicial Deference to Institutionalized Employment Structures (June 21, 2006). 1st Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910940

Lauren B. Edelman (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program and Center for the Study of Law and Society ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-4038 (Phone)
510-643-6171 (Fax)

Linda Hamilton Krieger

University of Hawaii - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States
1.808.956.6994 (Phone)

Scott R. Eliason

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Catherine Albiston

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Virginia A. Mellema

Government of the United States of America - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( email )

1801 L Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20507
United States

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