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SOC100 Lecture Notes - Intersectionality, Protecting Power

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Alison Dunwoody

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Inequalities in Equal Employment Opportunity Litigation
Laws that maintain inequalities
- racial segregation
- disparities in policing and incarceration
Laws that challenge inequalities - prevent inequalities
- redistribute tax codes - taking money from wealthier people for the poor
- labor market regulations - union; protecting power, place in society
Equal Employment Opportunity Laws (EEO)
Major attempt to prevent employment discrimination
- protected categories: race, sex, age, etc. -- employers are allowed to discriminate on how
much they like you, how you connect with them, smile..
!-Downside: choosing limited set of categories,
- individuals file claims, lawsuits --if you suspect discrimination, you can file a lawsuit; use
courts to fix situation
- sometimes must prove intent -- individuals must prove intent of employer Ie: use test to screen
employers; often unintentional discrimination
!-Downside: might be hidden intent on discrimination
Issues with EEO: -inequality within courts, investing effort (some may not have the time),
depending on individual to file proper claim, some discrimination may go unexamined
Potential Shortcomings
Inequalities in legal system
- powerful people more likely to mobilize rights
- employersʼ advantage in court
- lack of information
- discrimination in the courtroom
Mismatches between legal definitions and reality of discrimination
- missing important categories
- unfair treatment doesn't only target categories
- misses unintentional, market-based, and structural inequalities
- conflicted treatment of intersectional claims - discrimination against only females or only one
certain race..
Intersectional Discrimination
Categories intersect to produce unique forms of discrimination
For example, an employer might:
- refuse to hire black women b/c he stereotypes them as desperate single mothers
- refuse to hire black men b/c he stereotypes them as likely to resist authority
Mixed Treatment of Intersectional Claims
- DeFraffenreid v. General Motors
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