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Disparate impact lawsuits: How doing nothing wrong could be wrong.

Posted by Ferguson, Jeffrey at Wednesday, 04/25/2012 11:15 am
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Can your hiring practices withstand EEOC scrutiny? Did you know that even if you make – or think you’re making – fair and equitable hiring decisions, you could be susceptible to a disparate impact lawsuit?

This article will provide information on how to prevent a disparate impact claim.

Every employer has methods for screening potential employees, including criminal background checks, drug screens, personality tests and credit checks. Screening potential employees allows employers to make informed hiring decisions. But screening potential employees without justification could lead to litigation.

Disparate impact occurs when non-discriminatory hiring practices have a statistical discriminatory effect on a group of people protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Gerald Maatman, Jr., Partner at Seyfarth and Shaw LLP, states, “a discriminatory impact case has nothing to do with doing the wrong thing. Rather, it is an adverse impact, unintentional, statistical discrimination case.”

To avoid a disparate impact case, employers must ensure that their screening methods are not disproportionately affecting certain groups of applicants. All potential job applicant screens must have both a job related justification and an identifiable business necessity.

For example, a credit check for a bookkeeping or finance position is justifiable. However, is it necessary for a receptionist position? A criminal background check could be justifiable for a worker in a corporate childcare facility. Is a criminal background check necessary for a call center position? Employers need to focus on developing a compliant hiring process that doesn’t disproportionately affect groups of applicants.

The experts at can safely steer you through the disparate impact minefield. Take advantage of our free guide that you will give you information on how to keep your hiring practices in compliance.Download the free guide “5 Tips for Safe Hiring Practices,” to prevent costly litigation and millions of dollars in fines and penalties.