#MeToo, Political Affiliation, and Personal Experience Affect Jurors’ Attitudes About Discrimination and Harassment

July 25, 2020 – New York, NY – DOAR, the nation’s leading trial consulting company, today released important findings from a new study that measured the perceived prevalence of discrimination and harassment in the workplace and the effects on jurors’ attitudes toward employment cases alleging the specific wrongdoings. The results indicate overwhelmingly that many factors come to bear—including political beliefs, personal experience, and the #MeToo movement—on how jurors will evaluate the context in which employment lawyers advance case themes on their clients’ behalf.

The study, “Implications for Litigating Employment Cases in a #MeToo World,” was conducted by the DOAR Research Center and is a follow-up report to its 2018 study on the topic.  The new study comes on the heels of a report by the New York State Bar Association regarding gender disparity in New York Courtrooms to which DOAR was proud to contribute.

“There are two overarching takeaways from this report and the report by the New York State Bar Association,” said Dr. Ellen Brickman, a Director at DOAR and lead author of the study. “We still have a long way to go regarding gender equality, including in the legal profession. And, while society has become more aware of the pervasive nature of all forms of discrimination and harassment, the issues surrounding them take on a polarizing effect.”

Key findings from the 2020 DOAR study include:

  • Discrimination and harassment remain highly relevant to the American public
  • Respondents estimate that at least one in every three Americans experiences each form of workplace bias (i.e., race, gender, and age)
  • Race plays a role in prevalence estimates and intersects with gender
  • Personal experience plays an important role in perceptions of how widespread unequal treatment is in the workplace
  • Many respondents think cases of discrimination and harassment are underreported
  • Political affiliation and gender are dividing lines with respect to prevalence estimates and attitudes
An interactive infographic that highlights more results from the DOAR study is available at https://www.doar.com/employment-litigation-discrimination-infographic.

One critical finding from the study indicates that the political affiliation of a respondent strongly correlates with their perceptions of discrimination and harassment based on race and of gender-based harassment. Notably, the study revealed that twice as many Republicans as Democrats report a belief that the #MeToo movement has gone too far.

“Because sociopolitical attitudes play such a key role in employment disputes, engaging with subject matter experts early on will help attorneys better consider what case themes they present,” said Rachael Zichella, Director of Employment Litigation at DOAR and co-author of the DOAR Study. “Experts can help counsel not only retool their general approach to the case themes within the expert’s area of study, but also their discovery and information-gathering strategies.”

The 2020 study was administered to 1,000 people from the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas. Respondents were evenly split by gender, by whether they were under 45 or 45 and over, and by whether or not they were college graduates. Their ages ranged from 18 to 99.

Download the full report of the findings.

About DOAR

DOAR is the nation’s leading trial consulting company advising lawyers at top tier law firms and major corporations. We leverage our more than 30 years of experience to provide the insight, expertise, and support required to handle the most complex, high-stakes legal disputes. We stay at the forefront of the most impactful trends and technologies affecting the legal community and deliver valuable insight that informs and advances our clients’ litigation strategies.

For more information about DOAR, visit DOAR.com and follow us at @DOARlitigation.

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