Wage Discrimination and Job Segregation: The Survival of a Theory

My earlier article in this journal, Wage Discrimination, Job Segregation, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, advanced the theory that the same discriminatory factors which lead to job segregation are also likely to be responsible for wage differentials between segregated jobs. The discriminatorily depressed wage rate of the segregated job is therefore one of the “adverse effects” under Griggs v. Duke Power Co. of job segregation. In order to establish a prima facie case of wage discrimination in a Title VII action, plaintiffs must show the fact of job segregation – that the jobs were identified as minority or female – and that the wages in the segregated jobs occupied the low end of the employer’s wage scale.

In a subsequent issue of this journal, Messrs. Nelson, Opton, and Wilson challenged both the factual and legal premises of my thesis. In this article I address only the main points of their critique; the reader, however, should not assume that my silence indicates acquiescence on any point made by them.