The Harvard Law & Policy Review (Winter 2009, volume 3, number 2) recently published an analysis of employment discrimination claims filed in Federal courts. The authors conclusions: (1) the number of cases filed in Federal courts have dropped dramatically, nearly 40 percent since 1999, (2) employees fare substantially better in jury trials as compared to judge trials and (3) defendant employers fare substantially better on appeal, reversing forty-one percent of their losses, compared with a nine percent reversal rate for plaintiff employees who lose at trial.
The percentage of summary judgement motions granted- requests by an employer that a case be dismissed before it ever gets to a jury - was also alarming. On average, the judges in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes appeals from Michigan Federal Courts, granted the employer's motion for summary judgment 73% of the time.
It was not clear from the article how many of the cases dismissed following summary judgement motions were cases filed without the assistance of a lawyer.