Clarifacts

Disparate Impact vs. Disparate Treatment

Disparate Impact vs Disparate Treatment

What is the difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment?

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This includes disparate treatment and disparate impact.

The difference between disparate impact and disparate treatment is that disparate treatment is intentional discrimination, while disparate impact is unintentional.

If your organization’s policies, practices or procedures are unbiased but end in a disproportionate impact on protected groups – race, color, religion, sex or national origin – this would be disparate impact.

On the other hand, if your organization’s policies, practices or procedures are set up to intentionally eliminate a protected group based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, this would be disparate treatment. You cannot intentionally single out or treat an individual in a protected group less favorably.

Examples of Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact

Example 1: Disparate Treatment

Disparate Impact

Example 2: Disparate Treatment

Disparate Impact

Class-Action Lawsuits

All applicants have the right to claim their employer discriminated against them during the hiring process, but they have to show if the discrimination was intentional.

For an applicant to say they were a victim of intentional discrimination – disparate treatment – he or she has to show they were treated unfairly based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. If the applicant can’t show there was intent, it would be disparate impact.

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