Origin of the Disparate Impact Claim

Origin of the Disparate Impact Claim

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what is the origin of the disparate impact claim? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


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ORIGIN OF THE DISPARATE IMPACT CLAIM: GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER CO.

In Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 849, 28 L.Ed.2d 158 (1971), "the [United States] Supreme Court held that Title VII prohibits employment practices that are discriminatory in effect as well as those based on discriminatory intent." Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 180 Wn.2d 481, 498, 325 P.3d 193 (Wash. 2014) (citing Griggs, 401 U.S. at 429-30) (emphasis in original) (hyperlink added). 

"The unanimous Griggs Court reasoned that Title VII's purposes could not be achieved unless the statute was construed to bar practices … neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent [that] operate to 'freeze' the status quo of prior discriminatory employment practices." Kumar, 180 Wn.2d at 498 (citing Griggs, 401 U.S. at 430) (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks omitted) (hyperlink added). 

"The [U.S.] Supreme Court therefore held that Title VII barred even a facially neutral job requirement if that requirement disproportionately burdened a protected class, unless the requirement bore a legitimate relation to 'job performance,' that is, unless it constituted a 'business necessity.'" Id. at 498-99 (citing Griggs, 401 U.S. at 431) (hyperlink added). "The Griggs decision created the cause of action now known as a 'disparate impact' claim.'" Kumar, 180 Wn.2d at 499 (citing Smith v. City of Jackson, 544 U.S. 228, 230, 125 S.Ct. 1536, 161 L.Ed.2d 410 (2005)) (emphasis added).

THE PRIMA FACIE CASE

For more information about this topic, read our article, entitled: Disparate Impact: The Prima Facie Case.


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.

–gw

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