Example of law suit or law change that affected worker composition
January 5, 2011 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for an example of a lawsuit or a law change that produced a sharp change in the composition of workers within an industry or company. For example, a company lost a discrimination law suit and subsequently hired more minorities or a law passed where an industry was required to have a more even distribution of workers across gender, race, etc.
posted by bucksox to Law & Government (6 answers total)
I'd start by looking at the results of Griggs v. Duke Power. It's the granddaddy; Griggs had a particularly profound impact on police and fire departments around the country. Through public interest litigation relying on Griggs, as well as consent decrees negotiated by the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, there were major changes in hiring/promotion criteria in these sectors--shifts from legacy or subjective requirements or gamed tests to better tests/processes without a disparate impact.

Of course, the changes didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. Chicago increased the percentage of African Americans in their fire department from 4% in the mid-70s to 20% by the mid-90s. In LA, the department was 96% white in '74 and more than 50% nonwhite by 2002, and in Boston, the fire department went from 1% minority representation in 1974 to nearly 40% by 2000.

Of course, the system is still far from perfect, and we have yet to see what the effects of the Ricci v. DiStefano decision will have, but I think Griggs and the litigation, actions and lower cort decisions that came out of it would be a really good place to start. Maybe some of the briefs/amicus briefs in Ricci would be a good jumping off point--I'm sure quite a lot of them go into the importance and historical impact of Griggs and other relevant precedents.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 3:01 PM on January 5, 2011

Not a law or lawsuit, but I find it absolutely fascinating that when orchestra auditions are done blind, more women get hired. It's more of a rule change, so I don't know if that counts.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:24 PM on January 5, 2011

The Caesar Chavez laws in CA. Migrant farming used to be even worse than it is now.
posted by pmb at 3:54 PM on January 5, 2011

Remember the word "stewardess"? No one uses it any more. But they used to, and back in the day airlines competed with each other to see who could recruit the most young, beautiful, attractive stewardesses -- and terminated them when they got older, or fat. This was the day when one airline's advertising motto was "come fly me!" delivered by a gorgeous model wearing a stewardess uniform.

Eventually some of the women who were being terminated for being too old or not thin enough sued. And now we refer to "flight attendants", and some of them are older women. And some of them are men. And airlines no longer advertise about how attractive their flight attendants are.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:12 PM on January 5, 2011

And airlines no longer advertise about how attractive their flight attendants are.

What? Are you kidding?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2011

Well, OK, but it remains true that this legal action resulted in a dramatic demographic change in the population of "people who work the aisles of commercial airline flights".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:59 PM on January 5, 2011

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