Disparate Treatment v. Disparate Impact in Florida Sex Discrimination Claims
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from workplace discrimination on account of many different protected characteristics, and sex is one of them. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarifies that it is unlawful for employers to treat workers differently because of sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity. An employee who suffers unlawful sex discrimination at work has legal remedies through the EEOC, the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), and the court system.
However, treating workers differently on account of sex may come in two different forms. The employer’s actions may amount to either disparate treatment or disparate impact, depending on the circumstances. Both forms of misconduct are against the law, but the strategies for enforcing your rights may vary. A Palm Beach Gardens sex discrimination lawyer will tackle the details of your claim, but an overview may help you understand the basics.
Claims for Disparate Treatment: This type of sex discrimination could be considered intentional, because it singles out certain employees based upon their sex. To prove your case, you must show:
- You are a member of a protected class, specifically sex;
- Your employer knows you are protected; and,
- The employer treated you differently than other employees who were treated better, to your detriment.
An example of disparate treatment in a sex discrimination case might be requiring female employees to take a strength test, while not imposing the same requirement for males.
Disparate Impact Sex Discrimination: When an employer implements a policy that applies to all employees, but affects some workers negatively, the sex discrimination may amount to disparate impact. It may not be the company’s intention that certain employees would be adversely affected, but the effect is discriminatory.
For disparate impact cases, you must prove that the employment practice caused harm to you and others in your protected class. However, the employer has the opportunity to rebut by stating that there is a legitimate business reason for the policy. You can counter this argument with evidence that a different employment practice would have achieved the same result.
Reasons to Take Legal Action: The main motivation behind pursuing a sex discrimination claim is to recoup the losses you sustained because of your employer’s illegal actions. You can recover for back pay, interest, benefits withheld, and other damages. It is even possible to get your job back if you were wrongfully terminated for discriminatory reasons. Plus, when you take action and your employer is forced to pay damages and make changes to discriminatory policies, you help others in the future.
Consult with a Florida Sex Discrimination Attorney About Your Rights
This summary is useful, but you can see that the differences between disparate treatment and impact are complicated. These concepts could have a major impact on your case, so it is essential to get legal help. Our team at Sconzo Law Office is knowledgeable about the laws, and we will leverage them for your benefit. To set up a consultation at our Palm Beach County location, please call 561-279-6114 or visit us online.