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The unintended consequences of the '91 civil rights legislation

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The paper can be downloaded to read here

Here is an overview. 


Mickey Kaus, in linking to this post below (thanks, Mickey!), asks:

If a Hispanic who has performed as poorly and prominently as Patti Solis Doyle can’t be fired without her employer getting grief from Hispanic leaders, isn’t that a pretty big disincentive to hiring a Hispanic in the first place? Message: Stick to white males — if they screw up, you can sack them and nobody will whine.

Actually, that disincentive and that “message” have long been recognized as one of the costs of civil rights enforcement.

A classic example is the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which made it easier for disappointed job seekers to file “disparate impact” claims based on statistical evidence and increased the money-damage awards to plaintiffs.

In this excellent 2003 article, Stuart Taylor Jr. discusses a study by a Stanford economist and a Northwestern management professor, among other evidence, indicating that the 1991 law made “employers in traditionally white-male industries marginally less likely to hire minorities and women.”

How could the risk of high damage awards for discriminating against minorities and women make employers more hesitant to hire them? Because employers know that far more lawsuits are brought, and far greater damages are awarded, for claims of discrimination in firing than in hiring. So the risk of being sued for turning down a minority or female applicant is dwarfed by the risk of being sued later for firing the same applicant after giving him or her a try.

“The increases in potential damage awards,” write Oyer and Schaefer, “coupled with a decades-long trend toward firing-based, and away from hiring-based, employment-discrimination litigation, means the main impact of the act was to increase the costs to employers of dismissing protected workers…. Because [an employer] feels firing-based costs only if it decides to hire, the costs act as an implicit tax on such hiring. Firing-based protections may therefore lead employers to hire fewer protected workers, not more.”

Nor, Taylor continues, were these results unanticipated.

…. In a Stanford Law Review article half a year before Congress passed the legislation, Stanford Law School professor John J. Donohue III and co-author Peter Siegelman documented a major shift in the nature of job-discrimination lawsuits—as well as a spectacular increase in their number—since 1970: “While most cases formerly attacked discrimination in hiring, today the vast majority of all litigation suits challenge discrimination in discharge.” And although the 1964 Civil Rights Act was extremely valuable in breaking down the flagrant discrimination in hiring then practiced by many employers, the authors wrote, the “dramatic shift to firing cases has greatly increased the likelihood that Title VII will create a drag on the hiring of protected workers rather than the positive inducement it originally provided.”

Note that Taylor did not recommend (and, for what it’s worth, neither do I) that Congress eliminate damages for discriminatory firing, “[e]ven if the costs of such lawsuits to minorities and women, not to mention employers, have come to exceed their benefits….”

Racial discrimination is wrong, but that doesn’t mean we should refuse to see the costs of eliminating it. And it is always useful to be reminded that efforts to do good, especially when the power of the state is enlisted in the cause, often do both more and less than the good intended.

Minnow Slayer

by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 7:50 AM
Replies (21-30):
stringtheory
by Gold Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Shouldn't you have your paperwork in order no matter who you let go? Just seems like good business practice...

Quoting candlegal:

Everyone knows if you want to fire a minority, you better have your paperwork in order.

candlegal
by Judy on Aug. 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM

absolutely, they just seem to require more paperwork.

Quoting stringtheory:

Shouldn't you have your paperwork in order no matter who you let go? Just seems like good business practice...

Quoting candlegal:

Everyone knows if you want to fire a minority, you better have your paperwork in order.


PinkButterfly66
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM
1 mom liked this

Ever work for the federal government?  It is really, really hard to fire an employee doing a poor job. It can literally take a year of reporting, counselling, job training, etc.  before you can legally terminate them.

quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 1:37 PM
Less than a year ago. I'm not at that job anymore. Part of why is because I was expected to oversee a department but the owner would hire people that had no skills (most were friends or family members of employees) and expect me to train them in basic stuff, like how to use Word and write a business letter. This woman was the wife of an employee who ultimately got fired himself for something unrelated.


Quoting Della529:

 LOL, gotta love cameras.  How long ago was this?


Quoting quickbooksworm:

The only person who ever gave me issues was the pregnant woman I fired. In the 3 weeks she worked there, my boss had to move her office because she was a smoker and smelled up our office, she was late to work every single day due to "morning sickness", and Then she flipped out in my office and just left one day. I called her to fire her and she said she'd tell my boss this and that which was all made up. What she didn't k ow was part of her freak out and storming off was on the landlord's security camera lol.



Quoting sweet-a-kins:


for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword


I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...


and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol


I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue


Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..


Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period


 


Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).




 


Carpy
by Ruby Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Until Jackson and Sharpton step in.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword

I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...

and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol

I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue

Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..

Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period


Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).


Della529
by Matlock on Aug. 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

 That is PATHETIC.  I don't know how some business owners stay in business while operating like that.

Quoting quickbooksworm:

Less than a year ago. I'm not at that job anymore. Part of why is because I was expected to oversee a department but the owner would hire people that had no skills (most were friends or family members of employees) and expect me to train them in basic stuff, like how to use Word and write a business letter. This woman was the wife of an employee who ultimately got fired himself for something unrelated.


Quoting Della529:

 LOL, gotta love cameras.  How long ago was this?


Quoting quickbooksworm:

The only person who ever gave me issues was the pregnant woman I fired. In the 3 weeks she worked there, my boss had to move her office because she was a smoker and smelled up our office, she was late to work every single day due to "morning sickness", and Then she flipped out in my office and just left one day. I called her to fire her and she said she'd tell my boss this and that which was all made up. What she didn't k ow was part of her freak out and storming off was on the landlord's security camera lol.



Quoting sweet-a-kins:


for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword


I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...


and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol


I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue


Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..


Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period


 


Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).




 


 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM
A lie of course

And a tired one at that



Quoting Carpy:

Until Jackson and Sharpton step in.



Quoting sweet-a-kins:

for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword

I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...

and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol

I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue

Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..

Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period


Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM
"They don't"

If the only consequence of decades worth of racial/sex employment discrimination is correct paperwork and a valid reason...I would say that's a pretty good deal


Quoting candlegal:

absolutely, they just seem to require more paperwork.

Quoting stringtheory:

Shouldn't you have your paperwork in order no matter who you let go? Just seems like good business practice...



Quoting candlegal:

Everyone knows if you want to fire a minority, you better have your paperwork in order.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Oh, I agree.  There was a point in time where I was willing to hire a college student who was computer literate if he'd have let me.  I can teach someone how to do certain things in a construction specific environment, I don't have time to teach someone how to operate a PC.  That was a basic requirement I'd post in my job ads, then he would hire whoever the hell he felt like, and I had to just deal with it.  None of the managers were able to fully operate their department because he would throw kinks in your plan.  His response was always he was the owner and could do whatever he wanted.  And that's fine.  He was left with no managers in a matter of one week earlier this year because no one could take it anymore. 


Quoting Della529:

 That is PATHETIC.  I don't know how some business owners stay in business while operating like that.

Quoting quickbooksworm:

Less than a year ago. I'm not at that job anymore. Part of why is because I was expected to oversee a department but the owner would hire people that had no skills (most were friends or family members of employees) and expect me to train them in basic stuff, like how to use Word and write a business letter. This woman was the wife of an employee who ultimately got fired himself for something unrelated.


Quoting Della529:

 LOL, gotta love cameras.  How long ago was this?


Quoting quickbooksworm:

The only person who ever gave me issues was the pregnant woman I fired. In the 3 weeks she worked there, my boss had to move her office because she was a smoker and smelled up our office, she was late to work every single day due to "morning sickness", and Then she flipped out in my office and just left one day. I called her to fire her and she said she'd tell my boss this and that which was all made up. What she didn't k ow was part of her freak out and storming off was on the landlord's security camera lol.



Quoting sweet-a-kins:


for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword


I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...


and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol


I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue


Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..


Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period




Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).




 


 



Carpy
by Ruby Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM
Nope.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

A lie of course



And a tired one at that







Quoting Carpy:

Until Jackson and Sharpton step in.





Quoting sweet-a-kins:

for 12 years I hired and fired people. I never worried about firing any race or sex because they were ALWAYS backed with the correct paperword

I guess lazy people who don't handle their business properly may not like it, they actually have to abide by laws...

and OP, I am sure no white people ever claim they were fired for BS reasons...o wait they do as well! lol

I once has a white man tell me and my boss that I fired him because I was afraid he would take my job one day....and threatened to sue

Too bad so sad for him. Not only did I document all his performance reviews (with his own comments admitting to bad behavior) but I had video of his drunk work shifts I had to send him home from..

Being a good leader means you can back your decisions, period


Quoting quickbooksworm:

I have never been nervous to fire a minority for doing shit work. I even fired a pregnant woman once (for good reason).


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