BOX 5-4

Types of Discrimination Banned under the Anti-discrimination Laws

  • Intentional discrimination, including decision making based on stereotypes or paternalistic assumptions (for example, about the level of commitment mothers will make to the workplace).

  • Sexual harassment, a form of intentional discrimination that occurs either where access to benefits (or avoidance of penalties) is conditioned on submission to sexual advances or where sexual or gender-based harassment (such as disparagement of women based on their sex) is sufficiently severe and pervasive that it (a) effectively denies a student access to educational benefits or results in a hostile educational environment or (b) effectively denies an employee access to employment benefits or results in a hostile work environment.

  • Retaliation, a form of intentional discrimination, in which covered institutions penalize persons (whether students or employees) who complain about what they perceive to be discriminatory practices against themselves or others, whether or not those practices would ultimately be found to violate the law.

  • Disparate impact discrimination, which occurs when apparently neutral practices (such as asking current faculty to recommend those who should be included in the applicant pool for new positions or requiring publication in particular journals as a condition of tenure) disproportionately disadvantage one sex and cannot be justified as an education or business necessity.

  • Failure to maintain required policies and procedures. Under Title IX regulations, educational institutions are required, among other things, to establish and implement anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures, appoint and publicize the identity of Title IX coordinators who will monitor the institution’s Title IX compliance, and prohibit retaliation for complaints of or protests about discrimination. Under Executive Order 11246, federal contractors must maintain affirmative action plans to increase opportunities for female and minority-group employees.

avoid problems of their own.69 That suggests that the pressure of EEOC enforcement is indirect—that firms are more sensitive to the enforcement mechanisms they experience in their institutional environments than to the direct coercive pressure that discrimination charges bring. Institutional theorists argue that the law plays a role in shaping organizational behav-


E Hirsh (2006). Enforcing Equal Opportunity: The Impact of Discrimination Charges on Sex and Race Segregation in the Workplace (Working Paper). Department of Sociology, University of Washington. Research and development firms are about half as likely to be issued sex discrimination charges as firms in other industry sectors.

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