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Modern discrimination law is the law of minutiae. Judicial energy is not primarily focused on large questions about why workplace inequality exists or how to prevent it. It is not even focused on whether the plaintiff in a particular case was treated differently because of a protected trait. Instead, judicial energy centers on interpreting and applying an ever-growing phalanx of complicated court-created ancillary doctrines.

Since the 1970s, the federal courts have created a number of frameworks to analyze discrimination claims. Each framework provides a roadmap for proving a certain theory of discrimination. Over time, the courts have added bells and whistles to these basic roadmaps. These court-created ancillary doctrines or subdoctrines require an ever-increasing amount of judicial attention.

While legal scholars have challenged the ancillary doctrines individually, this Article examines them collectively. When viewed collectively, it is easier to see how the system of creating and using ancillary doctrines is significantly flawed. Any benefits that derive from it are outweighed by its problems.



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