The Public Interest

Employment Quotas for Women?

James P. Scanlan

Fall 1983

IN Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Telephone and Telegraph Company (1977), a federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of race and gender-conscious employment quotas in a much-publicized consent decree. Although no party had addressed whether affirmative action remedies that may be legal for minorities would necessarily also be legal for women, the court gave the issue passing attention. After briefly discussing the constitutional principles whereby gender classification are subject to a lower standard of judicial scrutiny than are racial classifications, the court concluded: “The present classifications are permissible in the case of race, and are thus permissible a fortiori with respect to sex.”

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