“Numerous decisions establish the legitimacy — albeit fragile — of voluntary and court-ordered quotas where necessary to remedy deeply entrenched patterns of employment segregation. That the legitimacy of quotas is fragile is not surprising. In the earlier days of Title VII litigation, persons claiming to be ‘innocent white workers’ joined with employers to challenge their claims of black workers to jobs held solely by white workers. To the extent blacks had been previously disqualified, those whites who held jobs had benefited from the wholesale disqualification of blacks. It was clear, then, that remedial measures would be crucial to ending workplace segregation. Three approaches to remedying discrimination in the workplace emerged from this early litigation. The but-for-the-discrimination remedial approach would have eliminated the effects of discrimination by requiring whites to give up their ill-gotten gains. The ‘status quo’ approach would have required retention of existing job positions and would have guaranteed nondiscrimination prospectively. Under the ‘rightful place’ approach, white incumbents would be retained in jobs which had been historically allocated on a racially discriminatory basis, but future vacancies would be reserved for black victims of discrimination. The court’s chose the rightful place approach the choice was not made because blacks failed to prove that they had been the but for victims of racial discrimination; rather, the choice to delay the movement of blacks into positions they would have held but-for discrimination was made in order to preserve stability and maintain racial peace.”

Source: Linda S. Greene. Twenty Years Of Civil Rights: How Firm A Foundation? 37 Rutgers L. Rev. 707,725-6. 1984-1985. 


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