Disparate Impact Disparate Treatment Case Study

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Disparate Impact/Disparate Treatment case Study

Smith v. City of Jackson

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The City of Jackson, Mississippi adopted a revised pay plan granting raises to all city employees in the Police and Fire Departments. Under the revised plan, officers and dispatchers with fewer than five years tenure received proportionately greater raises than employees who had more than five years tenure. Azel Smith and twenty-nine other police department employees over the age of 40 sued Jackson, Mississippi, and the city police department in federal district court pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The Plaintiffs made two claims: (1) disparate treatment, i.e., the pay plan was intentionally discriminatory; and (2) disparate impact, i.e., the pay plan was unintentionally discriminatory. The trial court ruled for city on both claims. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals compared the text of the ADEA to Title VII, noting that 623(f)(1) of the ADEA allows employers to escape liability if the adverse employment action is "based on reasonable factors other than age." The court found that this provision is a "clear textual difference" between the ADEA and Title VII. When considered with the whole text of the ADEA and the legislative intent, the Fifth Circuit determined that the ADEA was not intended to cover disparate effects claims and affirmed the trial court. The Supreme Court had previously held that disparate impact claims may be brought under Title VII, but had not yet determined whether disparate impact claims can be brought under the ADEA.

Case Study on Disparate Impact Disparate Treatment Case Study Assignment

The question presented was whether a disparate impact claim, a claim alleging unintentional discrimination, can be made under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). In an 8-0 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court held that ADEA authorized recovery in disparate-impact cases, but that in this case petitioners failed to set forth a valid claim. The Court relied on its 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power, where the Court first authorized disparate-impact claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court reasoned that the ADEA authorized disparate-impact claims in cases similar to Griggs, because the language of Title VII and ADEA was virtually identical. However, ADEA was narrower than Title VII and allowed an otherwise prohibited action where the discrimination was based on reasonable factors other than age. The employees in this case failed to identify any specific practice within the pay plan that had an adverse impact on older workers. Further, the city's plan was based on reasonable factors other than age. "The disparate impact was attributable to the City's decision to give raises based on seniority and position. Reliance on these factors is unquestionably reasonable given the City's goal."

Though the decision favoring the city was unanimous, it is misleading because the key question before the Court was resolved 5-4 in favor of the position argued by Smith; namely that disparate impact matters in age discrimination cases. While allowing disparate impact age cases, the Court also held that the scope of liability in age cases is narrower than under Title VII, and that practices that are based on reasonable factors other than age are lawful despite adverse impact. The plurality read EEOC regulations as consistently interpreting the ADEA to authorize recovery under a disparate-impact theory. When the employee alleges discrimination, the employer proffers a nondiscriminatory reason for its action, and the employee must show that is simply not reasonable.

Jespersen v. Harrah's

Darlene Jespersen was a bartender at Harrah's Reno for nearly 20 years. One thing upon which everyone agrees is that she was a really good bartender. Her supervisors commented that she was "highly effective," that her attitude was "very positive," and that she made a "positive impression" on Harrah's guests. Harrah's customers repeatedly praised Jespersen on employee feedback forms. In February of 2000, Harrah's, in its Beverage Department, initiated its "Personal Best" program and forced it… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Disparate Impact Disparate Treatment.  (2005, May 28).  Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/disparate-impact-treatment/453543

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"Disparate Impact Disparate Treatment."  Essaytown.com.  May 28, 2005.  Accessed April 11, 2021.