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What is disparate impact discrimination?

In Michigan and elsewhere in America, employers are not allowed to engage in disparate discrimination. Disparate discrimination is any policy that does not intentionally discriminate against one particular group, but it has the effect of discriminating against a particular group. For example, the Supreme Court ruled against a company that required job applicants to have a high school diploma.

The court ruled that this was disparate discrimination because it turned away a large number of black workers in favor of white workers. Generally, disparate discrimination is tough to prove in court. However, the burden of proof is on the employer to prove that it is not occurring once the employee establishes that an employment practice discriminated against a protected class. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 further forces the employer to prove that an alleged discriminatory practice was job-related or necessary within that employer's industry.

Proving disparate discrimination based on age is considered to be the toughest of cases to prove. This is because courts provide employers with more leeway when it comes to making employment decisions based on age. Therefore, employees may have a higher legal burden even if they are able to establish that an employer implemented policies that were disparately discriminatory against a protected group.

Age discrimination, gender discrimination or other types of employee discrimination are generally illegal. Those who feel as if they have been discriminated against may wish to talk to an employment law attorney. An attorney may be able to compel employers to reinstate employees or provide financial relief to those illegally terminated or otherwise discriminated against. The use of legal counsel may be effective during negotiation sessions with employers that may take place outside of court.

Source: FindLaw, "Disparate Impact Discrimination", December 06, 2014

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