Disparate Impact Claims


My employer’s policies disadvantage women more than men.


What does disparate impact mean?


Disparate impact means something has the effect of discriminating against women, even though it may not have intended to do so.


What is a facially neutral policy?


A facially neutral policy is one that does not appear to discriminate in its exact wording or construction.


I think that a company policy adversely affects me because of my gender, how do I prove it?


In order to prove disparate impact in an employment context, you must:
1. identify the specific employment practice being challenged;
2. show a disparate impact by showing that a facially neutral practice which treats one group of employees in a discriminatory manner; and
3. show by statistical evidence that that the practice has, in fact, been discriminatory.


What is the difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment?


Disparate impact is the effect of a policy that was not necessarily intended to discriminate. Disparate treatment is intentional discrimination against someone because of their protected class.


Are there times when an employment policy or practice may legally impact women different than men?


An employer may justify a practice based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), which is a legally legitimate reason for which an employer may consider sex or any other protected class as a qualification necessary for the performance of a particular type of employment.


What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to its denials?


Once you make your initial allegation, your employer must demonstrate the practice is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or a bona fide seniority system (See Equal Pay section.) Courts have permitted such defenses even where they have a disparate impact upon minorities. It is up to you to refute this.



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