Decisions in the workplace are made every minute of every day; some by individuals, others as a group. Anytime a workplace decision is made between two individuals, discrimination has occurred. However, not all such decisions are illegal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991 has made certain decisions based on race, religion, gender, color, national origin, and age illegal. The workplace is protected by law, and the law is intended to assure that the employment environment is made as fair and productive as possible. Within this paper, I will discuss a case that illustrates disparate impact and a different case that illustrates disparate treatment, both of which fall under Title VII discrimination protection. I will then give a brief description of the relevant facts, the ruling and reasoning of the court, the specific implications of the ruling for my employment environment, and the appropriate case citation.
Disparate treatment is intentional discrimination. Where employment decisions are motivated by race, color, sex, etc., disparate treatment exists. The key element needed to show disparate treatment is that members of a protected group are treated differently from non-members. A "but for" test is often applied. "But for" membership in a protected group, the employee would not have been the object of the adverse employment action. With disparate treatment, the motivating factor behind the employment action is the employee's membership in the protected group.
In Brown v. East Mississippi Electric Power Association, 989 F.2d 858, 861 (5th Cir. 1993), Brown was a 20 year employee of East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA). After 20 years, he became the first African-American serviceman. Within a year, he was given the option of returning to the line crew or dismissal. EMEPA contended that he resigned, and that his "demotion" was based...