Dateline: August, 2007, Issue 5

Does a juror's gender affect verdicts in gender discrimination cases?

Under the law, gender discrimination claims can be made by both women and men, although women traditionally are perceived by jurors as "typical" plaintiffs in such actions. Jurors' own gender can influence their perceptions of the validity of gender discrimination claims.

Elkins and colleagues (2001) examined whether a "same sex" bias existed in the evaluation of gender discrimination claims, that is, whether male jurors evaluated claims of male plaintiffs more positively, and female jurors evaluated claims of female plaintiffs more positively.

Results suggested that female jurors favored female plaintiffs over male plaintiffs, although female and male jurors treated male plaintiffs similarly. In other words, female jurors did not disadvantage male plaintiffs, although they were favorably biased in favor of female plaintiffs. This tendency of female jurors to favor female plaintiffs was greatest when the defendant company's guilt was evidentially uncertain.

Source Elkins, T. J., Phillips, J. S. & Konopaske, R. (2001). Evaluating gender discrimination claims: Is there a gender similarity bias? Sex Roles, 44, pp. 1-15.