Academic Reviews

Pre-Publication Reviews

“Rights on Trial embarks on a thorough exploration of civil rights in the world of employment litigation on a quest to uncover how this system of rights-based litigation actually works and, in truth, whether it does. The book shines a bright light on the practical application of the law through real-life narratives and presents brilliant, insightful, and thought-provoking avenues for change. Rights on Trial is innovative, educative, and relevant.” Judge Bernice B. Donald, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

“Rights on Trial is a stinging indictment of the failure of employment civil rights law to address discrimination in the workplace. It is a landmark analysis, the clearest and most well-documented account of claimants’ hurtful experiences in claiming and litigating against discrimination. It is incredibly important and should be widely read.” Charles R. Epp, author of Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship

“Berrey, Nelson, and Nielsen offer stunning empirical evidence of how antidiscrimination law is structured to produce outcomes that are often anything but just. Rights on Trial is a masterful contribution to our understanding of how law often reproduces the very problems it seeks to resolve.” Osagie K. Obasogie, University of California, Berkeley

“Rights on Trial is a brilliant, shocking indictment of our legal system. Berrey, Nelson, and Nielsen use quantitative data on discrimination suits and in-depth interviews with plaintiffs, employers, and lawyers to detail why the system is fatally flawed. People who face discrimination at work rarely complain, and when they do, they don’t find coworkers to join them or lawyers to represent them. Few win anything, and those who do are forced from their jobs and often end up destitute. Riveting interviews show that plaintiffs who were hopeful that the law would protect them feel disrespected by the courts and lose faith in our form of government. Meanwhile, failed lawsuits encourage employers to believe that their workplaces are free of discrimination.” Frank Dobbin, Harvard University

“Berrey, Nelson, and Nielsen draw on a wealth of data in this carefully researched story of how litigation comes to be, how cases move through the legal system, and the grave costs incurred on both sides. As the authors convincingly show, rather than enhancing workers’ rights, employment discrimination litigation often reinforces the very hierarchies it was intended to diminish. This is a fascinating study, well researched, written, and argued.” –Elizabeth Hirsh, University of British Columbia