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Disparate-Impact Cases

Learn the legal theories and evidentiary requirements for disparate-impact cases, in which plaintiffs challenge facially neutral practices that have unintended discriminatory effects.


Title VII’s protections are most often associated with the various kinds of intentional discrimination that the law forbids. But Title VII also prohibits some forms of unintentional discrimination through its theory of disparate impact.

For example, an armored-car company used several physical qualifications in hiring security guards. Applicants had to be able to run a 10-minute mile, lift a 40-pound weight overhead, and pass a calisthenics requirement by performing at least 35 push-ups plus...