Stereotypes and the Bottom Line: Learning Lessons from Gender Based Firing Discrimination Cases
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Series/Report no.:2008 Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum. 22nd
Despite years of research on gender inequality in hiring, promotion, and wages, virtually no research has examined how gender based firing discrimination occurs in contemporary workplaces (Peterson and Saporta 2004). Studying firing discrimination remains important given its relationship to unemployment for the victim as well as considerable litigation costs to business owners. This study uses a unique quantitative and qualitative data set of firing discrimination complaints filed by White and African American women to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (1986-2003). Aggregate descriptive trends of 2,030 of these cases demonstrate that African American women, largely due to their relatively small population size, file gender based firing discrimination at dramatically higher rates than White women. However, a qualitative immersion into over 75 of these cases reveals that, regardless of race, women experience similar processes in gender based firing cases. The vast majority of women were fired because of 1) issues regarding pregnancy/maternity leave, 2) performance related differential treatment, or 3) retaliation for making a prior complaint about discrimination. This paper contributes to the literature by offering empirical insight into how gender based firing discrimination unfolds and also provides some practical recommendations to organizations.
Business: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)
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