Document Type



The Law and Economics of Labor and Employment Law, Cynthia Estlund and Michael L. Wachter, eds. Edward Elgar 2012


Employment discrimination law has come a long way since it confronted the simple exclusion of minorities or women from desirable positions in the workforce. The expansion of protected groups and the dismantling of the more overt forms of exclusions has strained the antidiscrimination norm embodied by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the law expanded the class of protected workers, its redistributive aims grew more pronounced. This chapter of a forthcoming handbook on the economic foundations of labor and employment law and provides an overview of this shift, focusing on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. With each further expansion of the reach of employment discrimination laws, the relation between bias and what may be termed employers’ economically rational discrimination became a more significant part of the case law. This chapter addresses some of the underlying labor economic issues as civil rights laws confront accommodation requirements and redistributive aims. The chapter will be published in The Law and Economics of Labor and Employment Law, edited by Cynthia Estlund and Michael L. Wachter and published by Edward Elgar.

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