New York race discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown know that all discrimination is not intentional. There is not always an evil co-worker making disparaging comments and overt threats or an employer purposefully mistreating or excluding employees of a particular race or gender.
Discrimination can, and often does, occur as the result of an employment policy or practice that seems neutral and is intended to be that way. When applied, however, a workplace policy or practice may disproportionately impact one race, gender, national origin or religion over another. When this happens, you may have a claim for disparate impact discrimination.
Disparate impact cases can be complex and difficult to prove. If you have been unfairly impacted by a policy at your place of employment, speak with a New York race discrimination attorney at Leeds Brown.
Our attorneys have been representing clients in New York and across the nation in matters against employers who discriminate– intentionally or not. Disparate impact cases, like all discrimination matters, require excellent investigative skills and a deep understanding of the unique evidentiary requirements these cases may involve. Leeds Brown has the experience and determination you want advocating for your rights if you have been the victim of disparate impact workplace race discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many other federal and state laws make intentional employment discrimination unlawful. For example, an employer may not intentionally refuse to promote women or purposefully prohibit a person of a particular race from having face-time with customers. An employer may not refuse to hire someone because of his or her religion or hurl insults about someone’s national origin.
Employment practices that have no discriminatory intent may, nevertheless, negatively impact a class of protected individuals. When this happens, the practice is said to have a disparate impact and may be unlawful. In other words, policy or practice may unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants even if the employer did not intend that as a result. Such practices or policies are often referred to as “fair in form but discriminatory in operation.”
The courts initially recognized the theory of disparate impact discrimination. One of the early cases before the Supreme Court, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., involved a company that had a high school diploma requirement for screening applicants for labor positions. The court, in 1971, found that the diploma requirement unfairly discriminated because it negatively affected a greater number than African-Americans than Caucasians. In the geographic area, there were far more African-Americans than Caucasians without a high school diploma. The requirement was also not a business necessity for the positions in question.
Disparate impact challenges arise in nearly every area of employment such as:
Some examples of New York disparate impact race discrimination may include:
A restaurant with a delivery business has a very strict no-facial hair policy. The restaurant fires one of its African American drivers for refusing to shave. The driver suffers from PFB- pseudofolliculitis barbae. PFB is a painful, inflammatory skin condition that occurs mostly in black men and is caused by shaving. Some men with PFB cannot shave at all because of its severity. If the employee were to challenge the no-beard policy as unlawful and having a disparate impact on African Americans, the employer would have to show the policy is job-related and is a business necessity.
A municipal employer with an overwhelmingly Caucasian population and workforce is next to a major city. The city has a mostly Asian population. The municipality has a recruiting practice of advertising job openings in publications that circulate only within its borders. Because of this, the city hires almost exclusively Caucasians. This policy may be unlawful because of its disparate impact on Asians.
A policy of requiring a criminal background check for all job applicants before setting up an initial interview may have a disparate impact on non-Caucasian applicants if they have a higher rate of criminal convictions and arrests.
Title VII was amended in 1991 to codify some of the courts’ findings regarding shifting burdens of proof disparate impact cases. According to the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), proving unlawful disparate impact under Title VII requires:
Once a policy or practice has been proven to cause a significant impact, the employer has the burden of showing that the policy or practice is:
If the employer can demonstrate the existence of these, the challenging employee has an opportunity to show that there is a less discriminatory policy or practice that can meet the needs of the business.
If you work for or apply for a job at a company that has practices and policies that seem neutral but have negative effects on one particular race, you should consider whether you are the victim of disparate impact discrimination.
Are you consistently told you do not meet the criteria for a promotion? Are you being turned away from jobs you are fully qualified? Have you been advised that you don’t meet the educational requirements for a position? Have you been fired for refusing to comply with a policy that disparately impacts men or women of your race?
If any of these situations sound familiar to you, contact the New York race discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown. Our attorneys can help determine whether you have a claim against your current, former or prospective employer.
Our professional and courteous staff is here to speak with you twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Contact New York race discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown today and protect your rights to a workplace free from discrimination. Time may be of the essence so call 1-800-585-4658 today.