LAW 5842: Subtle Sexism/Subtle Racism in the Workplace Seminar
U.S. laws prohibit sex and race discrimination in the workplace, but American society and the legal system are still working out exactly what that means. While people generally agree that conscious and blatant sexism and racism in employment decisions is unacceptable, many employment situations exist where less blatant distinctions are made between men and women, as well as between races. These more subtle, often unconscious, discriminations occur for a variety of reasons, such as social expectations, stereotypes, habits, and traditions. This interdisciplinary seminar considers how subtle sexism and subtle racism operate in the workplace (including the legal profession), what the practical implications of these practices are, how the law treats them, and what employers and individuals can constructively do about them. In addition to class participation, students will select a topic for in-depth research and presentation to the class. (Example topics are gender or race differences in the workplace regarding bargaining/negotiating behavior; stereotype threats; pay inequities; sexist and racist entertainment; mentoring; wardrobe and appearance; family care; and sexual or racial harassment.) The papers may be based on social science research that would be relevant to the law, on more traditional legal research, or on a combination of the two. The course also will provide an opportunity for students to consider their own future worklives, how subtle sexism/ subtle racism may affect them, and how they can constructively anticipate those challenges. The grade will be based on a presentation of your research, a final paper, a few short assignments, and class participation. For law students, the paper may satisfy the legal writing requirement. The enrollment for law students is limited to 11 students. Three spaces are also available to Women's Studies Program students.