Accentuate the Positive: Are Good Intentions an Effective Way to Minimize Systemic Workplace Bias?

Volume 95

95 Va. L. Rev. Online 117
Download PDF

In a recent article, Professor Bartlett argues that modifying legal tools in order to reduce implicit race and gender bias is a worthy goal, but one that is almost certainly unattainable. The modern workplace, in her view, is populated mostly by individuals who are well intentioned and committed to nondiscrimination. Legal “coercion” threatens their autonomy and sense of personal efficacy and, as a result, generates a backlash that is more likely to increase workplace bias than to reduce it. Instead of strengthening antidiscrimination laws, the most effective way to create workplace fairness is to restructure work in a way that facilitates our tolerant instincts. Doing so will reduce actions that are discriminatory and unlawful. At the same time, it will make us feel better about ourselves.

Click on a link below to access the full text of this article. These are third-party content providers and may require a separate subscription for access.