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disparate treatment vs. disparate impact

By: Virtus Law Group, Birmingham, Alabama.


Disparate Treatment occurs when an employer discriminates against a specific individual or employee because of that person’s race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. In disparate treatment claims, the employer’s intent is at issue. Disparate Impact occurs when an employer discriminates against an entire protected class through practices, procedures, or tests. In a disparate impact claim, the company’s policies, procedures, and/or practices have discriminatory effects.


Disparate Treatment:

In order to bring a successful disparate treatment claim, an employee must show that: (1) He or she is a member of a protected class; (2) The employer knows of the individual’s protected class; (3) A harmful act occurred; and (4) Other similarly situated individuals were treated more favorably or not subjected to the same treatment. The employee has the burden of proving the discrimination beyond a reasonable doubt.


Disparate Impact:

In order to bring a successful disparate impact claim, an employee must show that:  (1) The employment policy or practice has a disparate effect on a certain group of individuals who are part of a protected class; (2) The individual bringing the claim is a member of the protected class impacted; (3) The disparate consequence experienced by the individual directly resulted from the employment policy or practice; and (4) An alternative effective employment policy or practice exists that would be non-discriminatory.The employee has the initial burden of proving that a particular employment practice caused a disparate impact on their protected class. The burden then shifts to the employer to prove that the practice is job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. In other words, the employer must prove that a legitimate and non-discriminatory purpose exists for the contested policy or practice.


If you have been unlawfully discriminated against by your employer, reach out to our firm today for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.


Founded in Birmingham, Alabama Virtus Law Group is a Personal Injury and Labor and Employment firm serving the people of Alabama.




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