Nancy Leong (Denver) on "The Race Neutral Workplace of the Future"...

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Nancy Leong, “The Race Neutral Workplace of the Future”, 51 UC Davis Law Review 719 (2017)

Nancy Leong ponders how virtual reality, in which employee uses an avatar instead of their real person, may bring workplaces closer to a race-neutral ideal.  Professor Leong decries recalcitrant racial bias in economic settings, including the persistence of bias in the platform economies, like UBER and AirBnB, where black customers and service providers tend to be evaluated unfairly.  After recounting several ways employers have tried to limit bias in evaluations, from screens that prevent orchestra directors to see musicians, to blind peer reviews in academia, Professor Leong envisions workplaces that can deploy virtual reality technology to mask the phenotypes of their employees, thus lessening conscious and unconscious bias.  Legally speaking, Leong wonders whether the failure to implement available and affordable masking services might form the basis of discriminatory intent under Title VII jurisprudence.  Also, whether the implementation of industry-standard masking services would insulate employers from Title VII liability.  - DreSmith

Andre Smith