Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Special Project examines the back pay decisions and analyzes the problems that have confronted the courts dealing with this remedy for employment discrimination in the context of Title VII and section 1981. Because of the enormity of the issues that have arisen in Stage I of the proceedings, however, and the extensive coverage given those problems by the courts and commentators, the Special Project will deal only with the recovery stage, or Stage II, of the litigation. Consequently, the reader should assume that liability for employment discrimination has already been established in each of the cases discussed below. Before reaching the various procedural and substantive issues surrounding back pay awards, however, the Project, in part II, presents an over-view of the statutory authority for back pay including the legislative history of Title VII and section 1981. Part II also discusses the development of the appropriate standard for the exercise of judicial discretion in awarding back pay. Part III examines the parties liable for the payment of back pay. In part IV the Project explores presumptive eligibility for back pay and in part V considers possible grounds on which a defendant may seek to rebut the presumption. Parts VI and VII discuss the proof-of-claim procedure that must be followed by discriminatees claiming back pay and the procedure for determining individual awards. Part VIII then identifies and analyzes the various problems facing courts in allocating the burdens of proof that plaintiffs and defendants must meet before the court can determine individual awards. Following the discussion of the order and allocation of the burdens of proof, part IX outlines the various methods used by the courts to compute individual back pay awards and also discusses other issues such as the elements includable and deductible, the mitigation requirement,and the limitation periods for back pay. In part X the Special Project examines the problems that may arise when the parties agree to a settlement of back pay claims.