Disparate Impact/Disparate Treatment Case Study
Disparate Impact and Disparate Treatment are two examples of discriminatory treatment, but one is direct and the other is indirect. "Disparate impact" is a legal theory for proving unlawful employment discrimination. Disparate impact is the idea that some employer practices, as mater of statistics, have a greater impact on one group than on another. (Runkel, n.d.)Disparate impact is a non-intentional discriminatory action. On the other hand, "Disparate Treatment" is a basic concept in employment discrimination cases. Lawyers classify employment discrimination cases as either "disparate treatment" cases or "disparate impact" cases. Example of a disparate treatment case is, an employee claiming that the employer treated her differently than other employees who were in a similar situation. Like, Jane and Paul skip work one day; the employer fires Jane but does not fire Paul. If the reason is because Jane is female, then this is disparate treatment because of sex which would violate title VII. (Runkel, n.d.) After defining the two different types of discriminatory actions we can have a better understanding of how the two affect employee's rights.
In the case EEOC v. The Dial Corporation (# 3-02-CV-10109 S.D. Iowa), a discrimination charge was filed by Paula Liles, who applied for a position at Dial in February 2000. Ms. Liles and other unsuccessful female applicants testified at trial that they had performed heavy physical work, including lifting, in the past, and that they had met all the other job requirements and had been made conditional job offers prior to being rejected by Dial based on the work tolerance test. Ms. Liles completed the seven-minute test, but was graded as failing because of her height, which required her to go on her toes to complete the lifts to 65 inches. Judge Longstaff stated that, "Dial has failed to fulfill its burden to show it had a ?compelling need' for implementation of the WTS, and that other, non-discriminatory mechanisms namely, many of the same safety programs actually implemented by Dial could not produce the same results." The court's decision rejects the validity of the strength test, which was implemented by dial in January 2000. Prior to the test, nearly half of the people hired for entry-level jobs in the sausage department of the plant had been female. The job is physically demanding, requiring the repetitive lifting of 35-pound rod of sausages to a height of approximately 65 inches. The judge stated, "That the test was more difficult than the job itself. "Jean P. Kamp, Regional Attorney for the Milwaukee District Office of the EEOC said, " Disparate impact cases are somewhat unusual, but they are an important tool when, as here, an apparently neutral screening test excludes large numbers of women, or any other protected group, who are able to perform the job." (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2005)
In the case Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez (02-749) 540 U.S. 44 (2003), Hernandez tested positive for cocaine and was forced to resign. More than two years later Hernandez applied to be rehired, stating on his application that petitioner had previously employed him, and attaching letters both from his pastor about his active church participation and from an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor about his regular attendance at meetings and his recovery. The company has a policy against rehiring employees who are terminated for workplace misconduct. Hernandez filed a charge with the EEOC, claiming that he had been discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The EEOC issued a right to sue letter and the filed this ADA action, arguing that petitioner rejected his application because of his record of drug addiction and/or because he was regarded as being a drug addict. The court states that the neutral no-rehire policy in his case still violated the ADA because of that policy's disparate treatment. The Court of Appeals rejected petitioner's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for refusing to rehire respondent because it "serves to bar the re-employment of a drug addict despite his successful rehabilitation." We hold that such an analysis is inapplicable to a disparate-treatment claim. (Supreme Courts of The United States, 2003)
Runkel, R. (n.d., n.d.). Disparate impact. Retrieved February 24, 2007, from http://www.lawmemo.com/101/2006/01/disparate_impac_1.html
Runkel, R. (n.d., n.d.). Disparate treatment. Retrieved February 24, 2007, from http://www.lawmemo.com/101/2005/12/disparate_treat_1.html
Supreme Courts of The United States (2003, December 2). Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez. Certiorari To the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2003, p.1. Retrieved February 24, 2007, from http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-749.pdf
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2005, February 8). Pre-Employment Test By Dial Corp. Discriminates Against Women, Court Rules In EEOC Case. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2005, p.1. Retrieved February 24, 2007, from http://www.eeoc.gov/press/2-8-05.html