Workplace Discrimination Claims in Federal Court: A Word of Caution

If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, you should think twice before bringing your claims in federal court. In 2009, the Harvard Law & Policy Review will publish, Employment Discrimination Plaintiffs in Federal Court: From Bad to Worse?. The study, conducted by Cornell Law School Dean Stewart J. Schwab and Cornell Law Professor Kevin M. Clermont, examines official data from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. The article reveals that plaintiffs who bring employment discrimination claims in the federal courts fare less favorably when compared to plaintiffs in other types of cases. As an example, the authors discovered that employers found liable for workplace discrimination at trial enjoy more than a 40% chance of reversal on appeal. In stark contrast, plaintiffs who lose at the trial court level have only an 8% chance of receiving a favorable appellate decision.