What are disparate impact and disparate treatment?

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Both disparate impact and disparate treatment refer to discriminatory practices. Disparate impact is often referred to as unintentional discrimination, whereas disparate treatment is intentional. The terms adverse impact and adverse treatment are sometimes used as an alternative.

Disparate impact occurs when policies, practices, rules or other systems that appear to be neutral result in a disproportionate impact on a protected group. For example, testing all applicants and using results from that test that will unintentionally eliminate certain minority applicants disproportionately is disparate impact.

Disparate treatment is intentional employment discrimination. For example, testing a particular skill of only certain minority applicants is disparate treatment. 

Federal laws prohibit job discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, age, military status, equal pay, pregnancy, disability or genetic information and prohibits both "disparate treatment" and "disparate impact" discrimination.



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