Resource: Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform

By: Nancy Levit

March 1, 2008

Structural reform litigation, lawsuits that aim to create systemic change, dates back to the school desegregation cases of the 1950s and today continues with employment discrimination class action suits. Some of America's most important companies-Home Depot, Texaco, and CocaCola among them-have been subject to such litigation. This Article discusses the legal impetus towards the settling of such suits via consent decrees, and it examines several major consent decrees and the factors influencing the success or failure of each. [The case studies are of litigation against Shoney's, Texaco, Home Depot, Mitsubishi, and Coca-Cola.] The Article concludes that the defendant's acceptance of the desirability of creating a diverse workplace, coupled with making specific people accountable for delivering diversity, is a key component to a successful consent decree.