Disparate Impact Discrimination
Most Americans understand discrimination as the mistreatment of people of color before and during the civil rights movement. The intentional mistreatment of these populations is a stain on America’s ideal of equal rights that the civil rights movement began the process of addressing.
What many American, and importantly employers, are sometimes unaware of, is that the civil rights laws also prohibit the use of employment policies that have a disparate impact on protected groups.
For example, some physical fitness or other tests may disproportionately exclude protected groups from obtaining employment. These tests may include physical fitness cut-off scores that are not aligned with the required qualifications for the position, such as a long-distance running test for correction officers working in a prison. Similarly, unnecessarily high aptitude test cut-off scores in certain fields, such as firefighting, may also result in disparate impact liability.
Applicants rarely know when their demographic is being excluded because of such employment tests, but when this happens, they may have a claim for disparate impact discrimination.