Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact Gender Discrimination

Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact Gender Discrimination

It is difficult to believe that gender discrimination persists in the twenty-first century, but it does. As outlined below, there are basically two forms of gender discrimination. Either one could happen at any point in the employer-employee relationship.

As a matter of fact, these cases are so common and so pedestrian that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission often refuses to follow up on them. Other areas usually have priority status. So, if you complain to the EEOC about gender discrimination, do not be discouraged if the agency almost immediately issues a right to sue letter. That letter does not mean your case is weak. It just gives you the chance to partner with a Chicago employment discrimination lawyer.

Disparate Treatment

This form of discrimination is the one most people associate with illegal bias. Disparate treatment discrimination is treating different people differently. 

In terms of gender bias, disparate treatment discrimination is usually either misogynist or malicious, or at least intentional.

“Misogyny” usually means a bias against females, which is so deeply ingrained that people do not realize the belief is wrong or harmful. For example, a newspaper headline might read “Female Photographer Wins Award.” Most people would see nothing wrong with that headline. But it implies that female photographers are not as good as males, so when a female photographer wins an award, that is newsworthy.

Different leave time policies for men and women are an example of intentional gender discrimination. Many employers believe that women always want more time off to spend time with newborns than men want. That could be true in some situations, but certainly not in all situations.

Disparate Impact Bias

Some employer actions are not discriminatory at first blush. But they have a discriminatory effect, at least in terms of their applications.

Disparate impact discrimination is especially common in other job bias areas. A mandatory Saturday policy is the classic example. Such a policy disproportionately affects certain religious groups who consider Saturdays to be holy days. A workaround, such as allowing people to exchange shifts, usually does not make such a policy right in the eyes of the law. People who consider Saturdays holy days must jump through additional hoops to uphold their beliefs, and that is wrong.

Apropos of nothing, the law respects religious convictions as long as they are sincere. They need not be orthodox or even practiced by anyone else.

How it Works: The Wage Gap and Gender Discrimination

The wage gap between men and women could be disparate treatment discrimination or disparate impact discrimination.

Some companies pay men more than women based on the assumption that men are providers and female incomes are supplementary. That belief is clearly untrue and discriminatory.

There is also a current theory that females lack solid negotiation skills when they begin their careers, largely because these skills are not taught in school. As a result, they do not earn as much money as their male peers. As the years go by and their salaries increase, this gap persists and, in some cases, gets wider. To avoid this type of disparate impact discrimination, some jurisdictions forbid questions about salary history during the interview process.

Contact a Diligent Lawyer

Gender discrimination assumes multiple forms. An experienced Chicago employment discrimination lawyer can help you today. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline to set up your consultation.