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Settling for Less? Organizational Determinants of Discrimination-Charge Outcomes

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Although more than 60,000 workers formally charge their employers with unlawful sex or race employment discrimination annually, fewer than one in five charges results in outcomes favorable to the complainant. Building on sociolegal and organizational theory, this study examines how employing organizations avoid unfavorable discrimination-charge outcomes. Using EEO-1 establishment reports matched to discrimination charge data provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, I assess the effect of employers' legal experience, resources, and indicators of legal compliance on the likelihood that complainants receive favorable charge outcomes, benefits, monetary settlements, and policy change mandates. In general, I find that legal experience, establishment size, and indicators of legal compliance insulate employers from unfavorable charge outcomes. However, in situations where employers are willing to settle claims, legally experienced establishments are more likely to pay monetary damages and receive mandates to change their workplace policies.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology at Cornell University

Publication date: June 1, 2008


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