Not all discrimination is open or obvious. Sometimes it can sneak up on you in ways you have not imagined. In fact, you might face a viable discrimination claim even when you have not intended to discriminate against someone. Under a disparate impact theory of discrimination, intent is irrelevant. Instead, liability is based upon the effects or impact of a policy or practice rather than the employer's motivation behind it. In other words, a disparate impact claim arises when an employer's policies and practices, seemingly neutral and non-discriminatory on their face, result in a negative impact on a protected class of employees, such as race or age. Disparate impact claims often arise in the context of employee testing, organizational restructuring, and reductions in force.
On April 8, 2014, the attorneys at Royal presented an AIM webinar on disparate impact claims and ways to avoid them.