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Employment-discrimination plaintiffs, Appellate review of employment-discrimination cases, Empirical legal studies, Anti-plaintiff effect


Applied Statistics | Courts | Labor and Employment Law | Litigation


Employment-discrimination plaintiffs swim against the tide. Compared to the typical plaintiff, they win a lower proportion of cases during pretrial and after trial. Then, many of their successful cases are appealed. On appeal, they have a harder time in upholding their successes, as well in reversing adverse outcome.

This tough story does not describe some tiny corner of the litigation world. Employment-discrimination cases constitute an increasing fraction of the federal civil docket, now reigning as the largest single category of cases at nearly 10 percent.

In this article, we use official government data to describe the appellate phase of this important segment of federal litigation. After describing the database, the text tells the appellate story for employment-discrimination actions through graphs and tables, with some general observations followed by a specific lesson.

Publication Citation

Published in: Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, vol. 7, no. 2 (2003).