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Disparate Impact Discrimination - Where Your Intent is Irrelevant, Royal Roundtable

Published:  June 6, 2014

AmyB_5_22.jpgYou may be sitting on a ticking time bomb without realizing it. Did you know that your company's employment tests, screenings, policies, or general practices could give rise to a discrimination claim even if you do not intend for them to be discriminatory? Because of disparate impact discrimination, a viable discrimination claim could sneak up on you in ways you have not imagined. Under this form of discrimination, your intent is irrelevant. Instead, liability is based solely on 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.
On June 5, 2014, Attorney Amy B. Royal presented a roundtable discussion of this lesser known side of discrimination. At the roundtable, Amy provided examples of the instances in which disparate impact claims can arise and practical pointers and strategies for reducing employers' exposure to it.