University of Miami Law Review


Katie Black


The new American Dream is not limited to Silicon Valley. Startups span the nation. They exist in a vast array of sizes and ideologies. Nonetheless, by their very nature, startups are boundary-pushing enterprises. For all the world-altering good they can do, sometimes, that crashing-into-walls mentality comes at the price of pushing human and legal boundaries as well. While the entity tries to grow and create, almost hydraulically using what little human and financial capital it may have to build the once-impossible, startup employees can be left to bear the cost when it is their boundaries that are broken. Discrimination is one such cost. Current federal and state antidiscrimination law frameworks reflect a legal landscape perilously out of sync with the reality that startups are now entirely commonplace. While startups may sometimes literally be small businesses, they can have far outsized economic and human effects. This Note will analyze how current antidiscrimination law frameworks too often inherently fail employees suffering discrimination at smaller startups—irrespective of that startup’s age, purpose, or capitalization. Further, this Note will address the necessity of reforming Title VII and other antidiscrimination laws to catch them up with the speed at which startups have brushed them aside. In short, ready or not, the law must adapt.

The phrase, “done is better than perfect,” has long become a somewhat dogmatic maxim taught to most programmers—myself included. This ideology holds some merit when it comes to productivity sprints, hackathons, and getting a product to market. However, the danger of this credo arises when it is applied to people and the relationships among them—when the uncompromising push to “done,” and the culture it entails, comes at the expense of those who get it there.