Discrimination

It is no secret that since the 1980s, American workers have lost power vis-à-vis employers through the well-chronicled steep decline in private sector unionization. American workers have also lost power in other ways. Those alleging employment discrimination have fared increasingly poorly in the courts. In recent years, judges have dismissed scores of cases in which workers presented evidence that supervisors referred to them using racial or gender slurs. In one federal district court, judges dismissed more than 80 percent of the race discrimination cases filed over a year. And when juries return verdicts in favor of employees, judges often second guess those verdicts, finding ways to nullify the jury's verdict and rule in favor of the employer. Most Americans assume that that an employee alleging workplace discrimination faces the same legal system as other litigants. After all, we do not usually think that legal rules vary depending upon the type of claim brought. The employment law scholars Sandra A. Sperino and Suja A. Thomas show in Unequal that our assumptions are wrong. Over the course of the last half century, employment discrimination claims have come to operate in a fundamentally different legal system than other claims. It is in many respects a parallel universe, one in which the legal system systematically favors employers over employees. A host of procedural, evidentiary, and substantive mechanisms serve as barriers for employees, making it extremely difficult for them to access the courts. Moreover, these mechanisms make it fairly easy for judges to dismiss a case prior to trial. Americans are unaware of how the system operates partly because they think that race and gender discrimination are in the process of fading away. But such discrimination still happens in the workplace, and workers now have little recourse to fight it legally. By tracing the modern history of employment discrimination, Sperino and Thomas provide an authoritative account of how our legal system evolved into an institution that is inherently biased against workers making rights claims.
Discrimination and the Law provides an exploration and evaluation of discrimination law, focusing primarily on discrimination in employment. Introducing readers to the concepts of equality and the historical origins of discrimination law, Malcolm Sargeant explores the wider political, social and economic contexts through which discrimination law has evolved. The second edition has been thoroughly updated and includes a new chapter considering discrimination against trade unionists, discrimination against ‘non-standard’ workers as well as the public sector equality duty.

The book begins with an examination of what is meant by such concepts as equality and discrimination followed by an analysis of the Equality Act 2010 and the impact of EU and international law. All the protected characteristics contained in the Equality Act 2010 are critically considered (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation). Issues not covered by the legislation such as those relating to multiple discrimination and caste discrimination are also analysed.

Important cases from the UK courts as well as international courts are considered. The book also contains an appendix with the most relevant parts of the 2010 Act. Important cases are highlighted in the text and some reflections as the basis for further discussion are included at the end of each chapter.

This is an essential introduction to the wide-ranging law relating to discrimination in the UK for law, HRM and business students.

Marrying legal doctrine from five pioneering and conversant jurisdictions with contemporary political philosophy, this book provides a general theory of discrimination law. Part I gives a theoretically rigorous account of the identity and scope of discrimination law: what makes a legal norm a norm of discrimination law? What is the architecture of discrimination law? Unlike the approach popular with most textbooks, the discussion eschews list-based discussions of protected grounds, instead organising the doctrine in a clear thematic structure. This definitional preamble sets the agenda for the next two parts. Part II draws upon the identity and structure of discrimination law to consider what the point of this area of law is. Attention to legal doctrine rules out many answers that ideologically-entrenched writers have offered to this question. The real point of discrimination law, this Part argues, is to remove abiding, pervasive, and substantial relative group disadvantage. This objective is best defended on liberal rather than egalitarian grounds. Having considered its overall purpose, Part III gives a theoretical account of the duties imposed by discrimination law. A common definition of the antidiscrimination duty accommodates tools as diverse as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and reasonable accommodation. These different tools are shown to share a common normative concern and a single analytical structure. Uniquely in the literature, this Part also defends the imposition of these duties only to certain duty-bearers in specified contexts. Finally, the conditions under which affirmative action is justified are explained.
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