Discrimination law and the quota fear in Britain and the United States

Michael Connolly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On 19th July 2003, following the (EU) Race Directive,1 a new definition of indirect racial discrimination came into force in the United Kingdom.2 Its principal effect was to annul the Court of Appeal's restrictive interpretation of the previous definition.3 However, the new definition may have potential to cover a class of case beyond any contemplated by the draftsman, where there is a racially imbalanced workforce, but with no identifiable cause; or the 'result-only' case. If this were so, the fear is that employers would be forced to adopt quotas, rather than face litigation. This issue arose some time ago in the United States, where, provoked by this quota fear, a majority of the Supreme Court rejected such a broad interpretation of the Civil Rights Act 1964.4 This paper will discuss whether the quota fear in result-only cases has substance, and whether these cases should indeed be recognised and challengeable under US and UK legislation.5

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005


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