Difference Between Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment vs Disparate Impact
 

Disparate treatment and disparate impact are doctrines that are similar in nature and take place in employment because of the intent and behavior of the employer. It is hard for common people to differentiate between these two practices and even lawyers sometimes face trouble in identifying which of the two practices have taken place inside the workplace. This article attempts to highlight the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact to enable readers to know what they mean.

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment is also known in legal circles as differential treatment. It is said to have taken place when an employee claims that he or she has been treated in a discriminatory manner by the employer. To fall under the category of disparate treatment, the action of the employer must be shown to have taken place because of some protected feature of the employee such as his age, sex, or race. The victim must be able to prove that he has been treated less favorably by the employer because of his characteristic feature.

In a situation of disparate treatment, the employer acts or behaves in a deliberate manner and knows very well what he is doing. However, disparate treatment is brought out by the employee or a group of employees when they feel they have been discriminated. It is when an employee claims that he has been treated less favorably than others in the same situation that disparate treatment is said to have taken place.

Disparate Impact

These are employment practices that have an adverse impact on one particular employee or a group of employees. These include practices of hiring and firing as when an employer screens out prospective employees on the basis of their sex or race while selecting them for jobs in his business or company. In the case of disparate impact, the focus is not on the discriminatory intent but on the consequences or repercussions for the victims off such an action or behavior. Employment practice that looks prima facie neutral but on closer inspection reveals that it has caused injustice to a group of prospective employees comes under the category of disparate impact.

Disparate Treatment vs Disparate Impact

• Disparate treatment is also called differential treatment and requires proof of discrimination.

• Intent or discriminatory behavior is not required to be present in disparate treatment, and only proof that an employment practice causes injustice to a group of employees is enough for this theory.

• If you are a member of a protected class and have applied for a job for which you were qualified but rejected, you can file a law suit against the employer under disparate impact law.