Disparate Impact Case Study

Essay by maxima23University, Bachelor'sA, May 2007

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Disparate Impact/ Treatment Case StudyUnder Title VII, when an employee, potential employee, or plaintiff makes allegations of discrimination, it must fall into one of two theories in order to maintain eligibility for filing suit. These theories are disparate treatment and disparate impact. If the case does not fall into either category, it does not have merit for filing a lawsuit under Title VII. Employers must possess a sound knowledge of each theory to facilitate in placing policies and safeguards to help prevent legal action against the company.

Disparate treatment contends that the employer has treated an employee differently than another employee in a comparable position based on race, religion, gender, color, or national origin. The critical issue is whether the employer's actions were with discriminatory intent. The employer must show that the employee's denial was non-discriminatory by providing a clear, lawful rationale for actions taken. To prove disparate treatment occurred the employee must demonstrate to the court that discrimination is the only conceivable motive.

Bennett- Alexander and Hartman describe it best saying, "The U.S. Supreme Court has come up with a set of indicators that leave discrimination as the only plausible explanation when all other possibilities are eliminated. In disparate treatment cases, the employer's policy is discriminatory on its face." (2003, p.19)In Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez, former Raytheon employee Joel Hernandez filed disparate treatment charges based on violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) after receiving rejection on his application for re-hire. More than two years prior Hernandez tested positive for cocaine abused and forcefully resigned from the company. He alleged that Raytheon showed prejudice in his rehire because of his prior drug addiction. While this case caused confusion between disparate impact and disparate treatment, the court determined it fell under disparate treatment. However, the judgment was...