Washington Law Review


Brendan Mangan


This Note suggests that comparable worth theory, as a means of proving discrimination under Title VII, has been fully explored and charted, and observes that comparable worth claims have gained virtually no ground in legal battles against sex-based wage discrimination. Where courts have upheld such claims, their decisions have turned on the accompanying evidence of discriminatory intent, rather than on the inference of intent drawn from comparable worth studies. Moreover, since many factors provide plausible explanations of wage differentials, courts are correct in rejecting comparable worth claims that are unsupported by additional evidence of intentional discrimination. The Ninth Circuit was correct in rejecting the claim of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) because AFSCME failed to provide additional evidence which, together with evidence of pay disparities between jobs of comparable worth, would support an inference of discriminatory intent. Since comparable worth claims have not succeeded in federal courts, their future lies in nonjudicial forums, such as legislatures and collective bargaining.

First Page