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Law and Gender

Yale Law Journal

2011

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Discrimination By Comparison, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2011

Discrimination By Comparison, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Contemporary discrimination law is in crisis, both methodologically and conceptually. The crisis arises in large part from the judiciary's dependence on comparators – those who are like a discrimination claimant but for the protected characteristic – as a favored heuristic for observing discrimination. The profound mismatch of the comparator methodology with current understandings of identity discrimination and the realities of the modern workplace has nearly depleted discrimination jurisprudence and theory. Even in run-of-the-mill cases, comparators often cannot be found, particularly in today's mobile, knowledge-based economy. This difficulty is amplified for complex claims, which rest on thicker understandings of discrimination developed ...