Employers deny discrimination, assert managerial prerogatives, individualize problems, and denigrate plaintiffs. They offer small monetary awards, isolate disputes from the workplace by refusing to reinstate employees, and require that plaintiffs sign confidentiality agreements with settlements. Courts legitimize these practices, ignoring the asymmetry of power in the workplace and in litigation.
And workplace abuse is too often aimed at those who are off the norm of white, heterosexual, Christian, cisgender male.
Employers, lawyers, and courts fail to challenge — and even reinforce — hierarchies through stereotypes, say the authors of Rights on Trial. Stereotypes fuel discrimination against those who have been negatively stereotyped in favor of those who are positively typed. They’re cultural constructs about social reality used to justify asymmetrical social relations. They influence whether people get jobs, advance, support themselves financially, and achieve...
Adversarialism and opposing views — rather than addressing potential discrimination — informs each side’s actions and perceptions in a legal case. According to Rights on Trial, plaintiffs see themselves as the little guy in a litigation system stacked against them with adversaries who believe discrimination exists — just not in their cases:
Defendants who insist they abide by the law yet find flaws with every individual case by using stereotypes. They become defensive and can escalate tensions with abusive legal tactics such as using summary judgment motion to tell plaintiffs they have 45-day time limit to take depositions, etc.. Inundated with other cases, plaintiff lawyers often push for an early settlements to get rid of the case, giving no attention to the merits of the case fro either side as they jockey for position.
Judges who often don’t see discrimination evidently in cases without smoking gun evidence and play a role not just in decisions but...
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about
how workplace bullying works and how to deal with it.