VERON, District Judge:
The plaintiff, Curtis J. Wright, brought suit against Western Electric Company, Inc., alleging that they discriminated against him on racial grounds by refusing to hire him as an electronics technician in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.A. Section 2000e et seq. (1976). The district court found for the defendant, holding that the plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination and, in any event, that the plaintiff had failed to carry his ultimate burden of persuasion that discrimination had in fact occurred.
I. THE FACTS
Curtis J. Wright is a black male who completed a two-year course of study in basic electronics at the United Electronics Laboratories in Charleston, South Carolina and received an electronic technology diploma in 1966. He was then employed by Collins Radio,
The paths of plaintiff and defendant crossed in January of 1977 when Mr. Wright became aware that Western Electric was seeking applicants for the position of electronic technician, to be employed at the company's Dallas Works Plant in Mesquite, Texas. At this time, Western Electric was advertising in the local media for an "electronic technician," to be paid a starting salary of $6.91 per hour. No further job description was supplied. On January 12, 1977, Mr. Wright filled out an application for employment with Western Electric at its Mesquite plant and was interviewed several days later by three Western Electric employees: Jack Spears, head of the personnel department; Paul R. Wilson and Don C. Woods, engineers at the Dallas Works Plant. The job description furnished to these employees provided that, as a prerequisite to employment, the applicant must have completed an accredited trades training course or possess equivalent knowledge and skill acquired by means of practical experience. Mr. Wright's application listed his training at the United Electronics Laboratories, and detailed his experience with Collins Radio in the computer field.
Spears, Woods, and Wilson testified that they were not favorably impressed with Mr. Wright's abilities at the initial interview; nonetheless, a second interview was scheduled for Mr. Wright with Mahlon Cantrell, a supervisor of the engineering department at the Dallas Works Plant. The trial court found that, as a result of these interviews, a determination was made by Western Electric personnel that Mr. Wright lacked a sufficient depth of knowledge and experience in the field of maintenance and service of production testing equipment, so as to render him unqualified for the available position. The Western Electric employees who conducted these interviews testified that they found Mr. Wright's background to be primarily in the field of communications equipment, as opposed to the kind of production and testing equipment, especially minicomputers, that the technicians to be employed at the plant would be required to maintain, and that he lacked experience in independent maintenance and service work, which they considered essential to an adequate performance.
II. THE APPLICABLE LAW
In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973), the United States Supreme Court set forth a series of suggested guidelines as to the allocation of the burden of proof in a Title VII suit. The plaintiff must carry the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case by a preponderance of the evidence. This may be accomplished by showing: "(i) that he belongs to a racial minority; (ii) that he applied and was qualified for a job for which the employer was seeking applicants; (iii) that, despite his qualifications, he was rejected; and (iv) that, after his rejection, the position remained open and the employer continued to seek applicants from persons of complainant's qualifications." 411 U.S. at 802, 93 S.Ct. at 1824. If the plaintiff succeeds in establishing a prima facie case, the burden of production then shifts to the defendant employer to articulate "some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the employee's rejection." Id. at 802, 93 S.Ct. at 1824. Once this is accomplished, the plaintiff must then be given a fair opportunity to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer's stated reasons for the rejection were in fact a pretext for a racially discriminatory decision. Id. at 804, 93 S.Ct. at 1825.
The Supreme Court further clarified the nature of the burdens to be carried by the plaintiff and defendant in Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981). There the Court reiterated that "(t)he ultimate burden of persuading the trier of fact that the defendant intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff remains at all times with the plaintiff." Id. at 253, 101 S.Ct. at 1094.
III. THE STANDARD OF REVIEW
The district court found that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case because he did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was qualified for the position he sought. The lower court went on to hold that, even if the plaintiff had established a prima facie case, the employer had articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its refusal to hire the plaintiff; to-wit, the determination that Mr. Wright did not possess the desired level of knowledge or the appropriate background for the available position. According to the district court, the plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the stated reasons given by Western Electric for Mr. Wright's rejection were in fact inspired by a racially discriminatory motive.
In reviewing the judgment of the lower court, we are mindful that the court of appeal is required to accept the lower court's findings of fact unless they are "clearly erroneous." F.R.C.P. 52(a). A finding of fact is clearly erroneous "when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395, 68 S.Ct. 525, 542, 92 L.Ed. 746, 766 (1948).
IV. THE PLAINTIFF'S PRIMA FACIE CASE
With the above principles in mind, we now turn to an examination of the validity of the lower court's ruling. We hold that the district court erred in its finding that Mr. Wright failed to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination. As required by McDonnell Douglas v. Green, supra, Mr. Wright proved that he is a black male, who applied for the job advertised by Western Electric. Western Electric merely specified in their advertisements that they were seeking "electronic technicians." Moreover, Mr. Wright had had the benefit of a two year course in electronics technology, coupled with eleven years experience with Collins Radio, as required by the job description used by Western Electric. He
V. THE DEFENDANT'S BURDEN OF PRODUCTION
Since we find that the plaintiff has successfully established a prima facie case,
VI. THE PLAINTIFF'S ULTIMATE BURDEN
Therefore, Mr. Wright was faced with the task of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the reasons given by Western Electric for his rejection were in fact a mere pretext for accomplishment
In conclusion, while we must disagree with the district court's finding that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case, the end result of our determination on the ultimate fact of discrimination vel non remains the same. The defendant has provided sufficient nondiscriminatory reasons for its rejection of the plaintiff, and the plaintiff has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the proffered reasons were a mere ruse for accomplishment of a discriminatory objective. Since the plaintiff has failed to carry his ultimate burden of persuasion as to the existence of discrimination, we must affirm.