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Labor and Employment Law

Employment discrimination

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Articles 1 - 10 of 10

Full-Text Articles in Law

Dignity Transacted, Lu-In Wang, Zachary W. Brewster Jan 2019

Dignity Transacted, Lu-In Wang, Zachary W. Brewster

Articles

In interactive customer service encounters, the dignity of the parties becomes the currency of a commercial transaction. Service firms that profit from customer satisfaction place great emphasis on emotional labor, the work that service providers do to make customers feel cared for and esteemed. But performing emotional labor can deny dignity to workers, by highlighting their subservience and requiring them to suppress their own emotions in an effort to elevate the status and experiences of their customers. Paradoxically, the burden of performing emotional labor may also impose transactional costs on some customers by facilitating discrimination in service delivery. Drawing on ...


When The Customer Is King: Employment Discrimination As Customer Service, Lu-In Wang Jan 2016

When The Customer Is King: Employment Discrimination As Customer Service, Lu-In Wang

Articles

Employers profit from giving customers opportunities to discriminate against service workers. Employment discrimination law should not, but in many ways does, allow them to get away with it. Employers are driven by self-interest to please customers, whose satisfaction is critical to business success and survival. Pleasing customers often involves cultivating and catering to their discriminatory expectations with respect to customer service — including facilitating customers’ direct discrimination against workers.

Current doctrine allows employers to escape responsibility for customers’ discrimination against workers because it takes an overly narrow view of the employment relationship. The doctrine focuses on the formal lines of authority ...


On Not 'Having It Both Ways' And Still Losing: Reflections On Fifty Years Of Pregnancy Litigation Under Title Vii, Deborah L. Brake Jan 2015

On Not 'Having It Both Ways' And Still Losing: Reflections On Fifty Years Of Pregnancy Litigation Under Title Vii, Deborah L. Brake

Articles

This article, published in the B.U. Law Review Symposium issue, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 at 50: Past, Present and Future,” reflects on the past fifty years of conflict and struggle over how to treat pregnancy discrimination under Title VII. Pregnancy has played a pivotal role in debates among feminist legal scholars and women’s rights advocates about the limitations of both the equal treatment and special treatment anti-discrimination frameworks. The article’s title references the much-discussed Wendy W. Williams cautionary note that if we cannot have it “both ways” we need to decide which way we want ...


At The Tipping Point: Race And Gender Discrimination In A Common Economic Transaction, Lu-In Wang Jan 2014

At The Tipping Point: Race And Gender Discrimination In A Common Economic Transaction, Lu-In Wang

Articles

This Article examines the ubiquitous, multibillion dollar practice of tipping as a vehicle for race and gender discrimination by both customers and servers and as a case study of the role that organizations play in producing and promoting unequal treatment. The unique structure of tipped service encounters provides plenty of opportunities and incentives for the two parties to discriminate against one another. Neither customers nor servers are likely to find legal redress for the kinds of discrimination that are most likely to occur in tipped service transactions, however, because many of the same features of the transaction that promote discrimination ...


Retaliation In An Eeo World,, Deborah L. Brake Jan 2014

Retaliation In An Eeo World,, Deborah L. Brake

Articles

This Article examines how the prevalence of internal policies and complaint procedures for addressing discrimination in the workplace are affecting legal protections from retaliation. Retaliation has been an unusually active field of law lately. The Supreme Court’s heightened interest in taking retaliation cases in recent years has highlighted the central importance of retaliation protections to the integrity of discrimination law. The Court’s string of plaintiff victories in retaliation cases has earned it the reputation as a pragmatic, pro-employee Court when it comes to retaliation law. However, this view does not account for the proliferation and influence of employer ...


Tortifying Retaliation: Protected Activity At The Intersection Of Fault, Duty, And Causation, Deborah L. Brake Jan 2014

Tortifying Retaliation: Protected Activity At The Intersection Of Fault, Duty, And Causation, Deborah L. Brake

Articles

In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Supreme Court broke its string of plaintiff victories in the eight retaliation cases it has decided since 2005. In its 2013 decision in that case, the Court rejected a mixed motive framework for Title VII’s retaliation provision, a part of the statute that Congress did not amend in 1991 when it adopted the motivating factor standard for proving discrimination under Title VII. For help construing what “because of” means in the retaliation claim, the Court looked to tort law, which it read as requiring plaintiffs to prove but-for causation ...


Arbitral And Judicial Proceedings: Indistinguishable Justice Or Justice Denied?, Pat K. Chew Jan 2011

Arbitral And Judicial Proceedings: Indistinguishable Justice Or Justice Denied?, Pat K. Chew

Articles

This is an exploratory study comparing the processes and outcomes in the arbitration and the litigation of workplace racial harassment cases. Drawing from an emerging large database of arbitral opinions, this article indicates that arbitration outcomes yield a lower percentage of employee successes than in litigation of these types of cases. At the same time, while arbitration proceedings have some of the same legal formalities (legal representation, legal briefs), they do not have other protective procedural safeguards.


The Failure Of Title Vii As A Rights-Claiming System, Deborah Brake, Joanna L. Grossman Jan 2008

The Failure Of Title Vii As A Rights-Claiming System, Deborah Brake, Joanna L. Grossman

Articles

This Article takes a comprehensive look at the failure of Title VII as a system for claiming nondiscrimination rights. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, 127 S. Ct. 2162 (2007), requiring an employee to assert a Title VII pay discrimination claim within 180 days of when the discriminatory pay decision was first made, marks the tip of the iceberg in this flawed system. In the past decade, Title VII doctrines at both ends of the rights-claiming process have become increasing hostile to employees. At the front end, Title VII imposes strict requirements on ...


Freeing Racial Harassment From The Sexual Harassment Model, Pat K. Chew Jan 2006

Freeing Racial Harassment From The Sexual Harassment Model, Pat K. Chew

Articles

Judges, academics, and lawyers alike base their legal analyses of workplace racial harassment on the sexual harassment model. Legal principles derived from sexual harassment jurisprudence are presumed to be equally appropriate for racial harassment cases. The implicit assumption is that the social harms and public policy goals of racial harassment and sexual harassment are sufficiently similar to justify analogous scrutiny and remedies. Parties to racial harassment cases cite the reasoning and elements of sexual harassment cases without hesitation, as if racial harassment and sexual harassment are behaviorally and legally indistinguishable.

This Article, however, questions the assumption that there should be ...


Unwrapping Racial Harassment Law, Pat K. Chew Jan 2006

Unwrapping Racial Harassment Law, Pat K. Chew

Articles

This article is based on a pioneering empirical study of racial harassment in the workplace in which we statistically analyze federal court opinions from 1976 to 2002. Part I offers an overview of racial harassment law and research, noting its common origin with and its close dependence upon sexual harassment legal jurisprudence. In order to put the study's analysis in context, Part I describes the dispute resolution process from which racial harassment cases arise.

Parts II and III present a clear picture of how racial harassment law has played out in the courts - who are the plaintiffs and defendants ...