Studies consistently show that African Americans face more employment scrutiny and negative employment actions than their white coworkers. Recognizing that much of the explicit racism of the twentieth century has given way to subtle and often unconscious discriminatory biases, this Note argues that current Title VII jurisprudence contains the tools and legal distinctions to provide legal redress for this implicit bias. Discriminatory intent, a requisite showing for plaintiffs bringing Title VII disparate treatment claims, should not be understood to require proof of a particular mental state. Instead, the current law should—and could—simply require that plaintiffs demonstrate a causal link between their membership in a protected class and the adverse employment action that they suffered. Discriminatory actions by employers produce costs for society at large and for individual workers. Employers must therefore pay for the harms they cause, even if the employer did so because of implicit biases. Without employer liability for implicit bias and its discriminatory effects, this Note argues that barriers to equal employment opportunities will persist and victims of discrimination will bear the costs of unfair decisions made by employers.
Amelia M. Wirts, Discriminatory Intent and Implicit Bias: Title VII Liability for Unwitting Discrimination, 58 B.C. L. Rev. 809 (2017), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol58/iss2/10