Employment discrimination lawsuits and corporate stock prices

C. Elizabeth Hirsh, Youngjoo Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we examine the financial impact of employment discrimination lawsuit verdicts and settlements on publicly traded firms subject to lawsuits between 1997 and 2008. Using data on 174 sex and race discrimination lawsuits involving 107 publicly traded companies, we assess the effect of lawsuit verdicts and settlements on changes in defendants’ daily stock returns. Findings indicate that verdicts and settlements have an immediate negative impact on defendants’ stock prices. In addition, the negative effect is more pronounced among cases that involve monetary payouts, cases in which the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a plaintiff and cases that involve sex as opposed to race or national origin discrimination. These results demonstrate the extent to which legal rulings introduce a market penalty for employers and have implications for the study of law, organizations, and market responses to discriminatory behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-57
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Currents
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Southern Sociological Society 2014.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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