What is Disparate Treatment Discrimination?

What is Disparate Treatment Discrimination?

Disparate treatment occurs when a worker is treated differently than employees who do not have the same protected characteristics.

One way to prove that you were the victim of illegal employment discrimination is to show that you were treated differently than other similarly situated employees based on your protected characteristic. Under the law, protected characteristics include such things as race, color, national origin, race, gender, age and others. If your treatment was disparate, you might want to talk to the attorneys at Swartz Swidler about your rights.

What is disparate treatment discrimination?

Disparate treatment occurs when a worker is treated differently than employees who do not have the same protected characteristics. These types of lawsuits normally involve arguments about the treatment of similarly situated employees differed from the plaintiffs’.

Proving a disparate treatment claim

In order to prove a claim of disparate treatment, you will need to be able to show enough evidence for the court to infer that discrimination occurred. This process is called establishing a prima facie case of discrimination. If you are able to do so, then your employer will present a reason other than your protected characteristic for your disparate treatment. Then, you will have to show that the stated reason by your employer is pretextual and that the true motivation was discriminatory.

What is a prima facie case?

Presenting a prima facie case will depend on the facts of what happened. If you have direct evidence of discrimination, you will have enough. In many cases, however, you will need to rely on circumstantial evidence. The Supreme Court of the United States has defined a four-part test for disparate treatment claims, including the following:

  • You are a member of a protected class.
  • You were qualified for the applicable job benefit.
  • You were denied the benefit.

The benefit either was given to somebody who is less qualified and who does not have a protected characteristic, or the benefit is still available despite your qualifications.

Legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons by employers

If you are able to prove a prima facie case of disparate treatment discrimination, your employer will then need to show evidence of a nondiscriminatory and legitimate reason for the decision. In most cases, employers will present evidence about the employees’ qualifications, performance issues or conduct issues.

Proving pretext

After your employer presents evidence supporting a legitimate reason for his or her decision, you will then have to prove that the reason was a pretext for discrimination. You will need to present evidence that questions the employer’s reason. For example, you may show evidence that the employer has given different justifications for the action over time. You can also present evidence that the rules were applied differently to you than to other workers who are not members of protected classes. Passing comments that have been made by the employer may also be used as evidence of discriminatory motives.

If you believe that the action that your employer took was discriminatory and that you were treated differently based on your protected characteristics, you may need legal help. Contact Swartz Swidler to schedule a consultation.