Disparate Treatment Claims

 

I think my employer treats women differently than men.

 

a. What does "disparate treatment" mean?

 

b. What kind of claims can be brought as a disparate treatment claim?

 

c. What is the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact?

 

d. I think my company has treated me differently because of my gender, how can I prove it?

 

e. What is discriminatory animus and how do I prove it?

 

f. How do I prove discriminatory animus was the motive for the harm?

 

g. Are there times when my employer can treat me differently because of my sex?

 

h. Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?

 

i. What options do I have if I my employer has fewer than 6 employees?

 

j. If I prove my disparate treatment claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to?

 

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a. What does "disparate treatment" mean?
"Disparate treatment" refers to a policy or practice that explicitly treats women differently from men.

 

b. What kind of claims can be brought as a disparate treatment claim?
Any case where you have been treated differently than a man, based on your sex and not due to a company policy is a case of disparate treatment. Policies also can be facially discriminatory. For instance, a company can have different work-shift options for men and women.

 

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c. What is the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact?
In a disparate treatment claim, you are treated differently because of your sex. In a disparate impact claim, your employer engages in practices that "appear neutral in their treatment" but affect one group more harshly than another.

 

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d. I think my company has treated me differently because of my gender, how do I prove it?
You must prove four elements to show that you have experienced disparate treatment:
1. You are a member of a protected class,
2. You have been harmed by an "adverse employment decision," and
3. There was discriminatory animus, and
4. The discriminatory animus was a motivating reason for the harm.

 

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e. What is discriminatory animus and how do I prove it?
Discriminatory animus is discriminatory intent, motive or state of mind. Discriminatory animus may be proved by direct evidence or, in some cases, "may be inferred from mere facts of differences in treatment." In the case where your employer gives a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment decision, animus may be proven by showing your "employer offered a false reason for the adverse employment decision."

 

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f. How do I prove discriminatory animus was the motive for the harm?
To prove that discriminatory animus was the motive for the harm, you must show that the discrimination was the "determining factor" in the adverse employment decision. In other words, you must show that the adverse employment action would not have occurred "but for" discrimination.

 

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g. Are there times when my employer can treat me differently because of my sex?
In some limited cases, yes. If your employer can show that there was a legitimate business reason, sometimes called a legitimate business necessity, to treat you differently because of your sex, then that conduct will not be considered discrimination. However, these reasons are not common and "any old reason" won’t suffice – these reasons are difficult to establish.

 

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