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Explaining disparate impact in the workplace

It's important to have an understanding of disparate impact in the workplace so you know whether or not you have encountered this issue. Disparate impact goes hand-in-hand with workplace discrimination. There is one major difference — disparate impact is defined as unintentional discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Let's explore this issue a little deeper in today's post.

The official definition of disparate impact is when a company's policies, rules, procedures or practices cause a disproportionate impact on employees who are considered a protected group despite these items being viewed as neutral.

An example of disparate impact would be when all job applicants for a company are required to take a test prior to being offered employment. The results from these tests then eliminate a certain group of people from employment in an unintentional manner.

What can be used to prove a claim of disparate impact? For starters, you might be able to show that objective criteria for certain jobs falls under disparate impact. This criteria can include requiring degrees, tests, the ability to lift a specific weight or to have a set level of stamina.

Subjective criteria for a job can also be used in a claim. Subjective criteria includes the impression you made during a job interview, your collegiality and your performance.

All of the above can be used as evidence in a disparate impact claim when proving that the company's policies do in fact cause discrimination even though they appear to be neutral.

Have you been victimized in the workplace by unintentional discrimination? If so, you might have a case for disparate impact. It all depends on the person who conducted the unintentional discrimination, how it was handled and whether or not it continues to happen.

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