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The Effect of Gender on Awards in Employment Arbitration Cases: The Experience in the Securities Industry


  • David B. Lipsky,

    1. Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution, ILR School, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
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  • J. Ryan Lamare,

    1. Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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  • Abhishek Gupta

    1. ILR School, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
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    • We would like to acknowledge our gratitude to several individuals who assisted us in the preparation of this paper. We want to thank most sincerely Ron Seeber, who first had the idea of doing research on employment arbitration in the securities industry and played an active role in the early stages of our research. After Ron became the Senior Vice Provost at Cornell, he had to suspend his participation in this project. We also want to thank Heather Baker and, most especially, Missy Harrington for their assistance. We presented our initial findings based on this research at two workshops sponsored by the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History at the ILR School, and we are grateful to participants in these workshops for their useful comments and suggestions. We are especially grateful to our colleague Alex Colvin, who provided a very useful critique of an earlier draft of this paper. We would also like to thank James Gross for his suggestions and John Bishop, who provided advice on the quantitative methods we use in this paper. We also presented an earlier version of this paper at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association in Denver, CO, in January 2011. We are grateful to Hoyt Wheeler and Oliver Quinn for their comments on that version of the paper, and we would especially like to thank Jiong Tu for his suggestions about possible quantitative techniques we might employ in our analysis.


In this article we analyze the outcomes of nearly 3200 awards issued in employment disputes settled by arbitration in the securities industry over the period 1986–2008. The large amount of litigation in the securities industry alleging discrimination by securities firms against the women they employ led us to hypothesize that women would do less well than men in these arbitration cases. Regression analysis reveals that the gender of the complainant and the complainant's attorney (but not the gender of the respondent's attorney or the arbitrator) had significant effects on the size of the awards. Regardless of the definition of the dependent variable, female complainants did less well than male complainants in these employment arbitration cases. In most estimates, the gender of the attorney representing the complainant also affected the size of the award: male attorneys obtained larger awards than female attorneys. We conclude that these gender differentials are more likely to be the consequence of employment conditions in the securities industry rather than biases in the arbitration process.