Policies That Have Disparate Impacts On Protected Individuals May Be Discriminatory

Workplace discrimination can occur in a variety of manners. Although employment discrimination cases often focus on intentional acts of discrimination – such as not hiring someone or firing someone because of their race or gender – policies or actions that negatively impact a protected group may also constitute discrimination. Called “disparate impact” discrimination, this type of discrimination is also prohibited.

If you believe that you have suffered any form of employment discrimination, consulting with an experienced Atlanta employment discrimination law firm is important to provide you critical legal guidance and determine your next steps.

Several recent employment discrimination cases have evaluated policies that appeared neutral but really had a disproportionately negative impact on Black people and women. These cases provide good examples of policies that appear “neutral” but may in fact constitute disparate impact discrimination.

In one case, the city of Jacksonville, Florida required fire fighters to take written examinations in order to be promoted. The EEOC asserted that these tests had a negative and discriminatory effect on African-American candidates. The EEOC also argued that the tests were not job related or consistent with business necessity.

Another case filed last year against the NCAA challenged the associated rule that permanently barred convicted felons from coaching in NCAA-certified tournaments alleging that “Policies that categorically exclude individuals with felony convictions are known to have a disparate impact on African-Americans. … African-Americans are arrested, charged and convicted of drug crimes at greater rates than whites, even though usage rates are similar.”

Further, a recent Pennsylvania case filed against the state police contends that the physical fitness screening tests it uses to select applicants for entry level state trooper positions is discriminatory against women. The test required all candidate pass a 5-part physical fitness test. While 94% of the male applicants passed one version of the test, only 71% of the females did. When the test was changed, 98% of the males and only 72% of the females passes. According to the lawsuit, the use of the physical fitness tests were not job-related, nor consistent with business necessity.

For more information about employment discrimination, or if you believe that you may have been treated unfairly at work as the result of a policy or practice, please contact the experienced Georgia employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.