Hastings Law Journal


Social scientists have shown that bias and stereotypes are executed and reinforced not only in moments of decision making, like hiring or promotion, but also in day-to-day interactions and social relations (or lack thereof) at work. The Authors discuss existing measures for reducing employment discrimination as focusing too narrowly at the individual level of discrimination. They argue that discrimination-reducing measures taken by employers should be expanded to address the relational sources of discrimination. The Authors review research showing that employers can reduce relational sources of discrimination and workplace inequality by changing the context of workplace relations and interactions from stereotype reinforcing to stereotype challenging. Network-based work, mentoring, and training, attention to demographics, and overarching norms are identified as measures that may lessen discrimination at the relational level. The Authors close with a discussion of the law's potential to serve both as an inhibitor and a facilitator in expanding discrimination-reducing measures to address relational sources of discrimination.

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