March 07, 2011 Practice Points

Study Examines the Effect of Gender in Securities Employment Arbitration Cases

A paper entitled "The Effect of Gender on Awards in Employment Arbitration Cases: The Experience in the Securities Industry" was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association. The paper discusses a study in which the authors of the paper examined nearly 3,200 employment arbitrations in the securities industry. The authors reviewed a number of variables in the arbitrations—including the gender of participants—and analyzed whether those variables affected the likelihood of success in arbitration. In conducting their analysis, the authors used four different definitions of a "win" in an arbitration (obtaining any positive award, obtaining an award that was at least 25 percent of the amount claimed, obtaining an award that was at least 50 percent of the amount claimed, and obtaining an award that was at least 75 percent of the amount claimed). Categorizing the gender of arbitration participants based on their first name, the authors considered the gender of the claimants, the claimants' and respondents' attorneys, and the arbitrator under the authors' various definitions of a "win."

According to the study's findings, when a win was defined as obtaining any recovery, male claimants had a 34.4 percent greater likelihood of a win than female claimants. When a win was defined as obtaining an award that was at least 25 or 50 percent of the amount claimed, the authors found that the gender of the claimant had a similar effect. The authors further found that, with regard to both of these categories of wins, however, the gender of the claimant's attorney had a more significant effect on the likelihood of a win than the claimant's gender. Finally, when a win was defined as obtaining an award that was at least 75 percent of the amount claimed, the gender of the claimant was observed to have no significant effect on arbitration awards, but the gender of the claimant's attorney did have a significant effect on the likelihood of a win. In fact, the authors observed that claimants (regardless of gender) represented by male attorneys were over twice as likely to obtain an award of at least 75 percent of what was claimed than those represented by female attorneys. In all of the categories, neither the gender of the respondents' attorney nor the arbitrator had any statistically significant effect on the likelihood of wins.

The complete study is available here.


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