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EMPLOYMENT LAW GUIDE: - page 11 / 134

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construction workers” or if an employer assigns heavy cleaning work only to African-

American workers but not to Caucasian employees.

Disparate impact discrimination occurs when employment practices are “fair in form,

but discriminatory in operation.” Disparate impact discrimination thus creates built-in

barriers for protected groups that are unrelated to actual job requirements and not consistent

with “business necessity.” Examples may involve physical testing, minimum height and

weight standards, or educational credentials.

Discrimination can conceivably infect any decision an employer makes that affects an

employee’s job. Some of the more common decisions in which discrimination might occur

include hiring, firing, transfers, promotions, evaluations, assignments, compensation, raises,

benefits, or reductions-in-force and other reorganizations. It is therefore critical that

employers’ decisions be job-related and consistent.

FIVE MAJOR CONCEPTS OF EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

  • 1.

    Applicants and employees having equal qualifications, abilities, and performance must be treated equally.

  • 2.

    Managers and supervisors must be able to provide legitimate, job- related reasons for adverse actions against individuals in protected groups.

  • 3.

    Hiring, promotion and other employment standards that are neutral on their face may be unlawfully discriminatory if they impact protected groups more heavily.

  • 4.

    Employment decisions based on stereotypes may be unlawful.

5.

Merit based decisions and uniformity usually result in compliance with laws that prohibit discrimination, but “reasonable accommodation” may be required for disabled individuals.

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