• Articles

Dignity and Discrimination: Employment Civil Rights in the Workplace and In Courts

March 2018

From Chicago-Kent Law Review 

Employment civil rights and the litigation associated with enforcing them are a complex interplay of public and private employers, regulatory agencies, and federal courts. When an employee loses a job or their position in an employing organization, the financial effects are very real. If the employee makes a claim of discriminatory treatment using the employer’s human resources complaint processes or with the EEOC or state equivalent, they often face workplace retaliation and even termination. Using interviews conducted with parties to employment civil rights lawsuits, this article argues that the regime of employment civil rights in the United States can be conceived as perpetuating dignity takings (and occasionally dignity restorations) because the state sanctions/permits/gives deference to management in ways that allow discrimination and loss of earnings and does it in a way that allows and perpetuates dehumanizing infantilization which demonstrates that plaintiffs face dehumanizing stereotyped treatment in the workplace and in courts.