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Locate cases to illustrate Disparate Impact & Disparate Treatment

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Disparate Impact/Disparate Treatment Case Study

Find a case that illustrates disparate impact and a different case that illustrates disparate treatment.

Include the following components in each case study:

a. A brief description of the relevant facts

b. The ruling and reasoning of the court

c. The specific implications of the ruling for your employment environment

d. Appropriate case citation

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Disparate impact.

An unnecessary discriminatory effect on a protected class caused by an employment practice or policy that appears to be nondiscriminatory. Disparate impact is a circumstantial method of proving discrimination. Say, for example, a city adopts a regulation requiring that all janitors have high school diplomas. On the surface, the regulation does not discriminate. Yet it is likely to have a "disparate impact" on minority groups with high dropout rates.

In such a circumstance, plaintiffs may pursue a disparate impact theory of liability to shift the burden to the city, to show that a high school diploma is a business necessity for a janitorial job - not just a clever, facially neutral method for weeding out minority applicants

A brief description of the relevant facts

As a recipient of federal financial assistance, the Alabama Department of Public Safety (Department), of which petitioner Alexander is the Director, is subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Section 601 of that Title prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in covered programs and activities. Section 602 authorizes federal agencies to effectuate §601 by issuing regulations, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in an exercise of this authority promulgated a regulation forbidding funding recipients to utilize criteria or administrative methods having the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination based on the prohibited grounds. Respondent Sandoval brought this class action to enjoin the Department's decision to administer state driver's license examinations only in English, arguing that it violated the DOJ regulation because it had the effect of subjecting non-English speakers to discrimination based on their national origin. Agreeing, the District Court enjoined the policy and ordered the Department to accommodate non-English speakers. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. Both courts rejected petitioners' argument that Title VI did not provide respondents a cause of action to enforce the regulation.

b. The ruling and reasoning of the court

Held: There is no private right of action to enforce disparate-impact regulations promulgated under Title VI. Pp. 3-17.

(a) Three aspects of Title VI must be taken as given. First, private individuals may sue to enforce §601. See, e.g., Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U. S. 677, 694, 696, 699, 703, 710-711. Second, §601 prohibits only intentional discrimination. See, e.g., Alexander v. Choate, 469 U. S. 287, 293. Third, it must be assumed for purposes of deciding this case that regulations promulgated under §602 may validly proscribe activities that have a disparate impact on racial groups, even though such activities are permissible under §601. Pp. 3-5.
(b) This Court has not, however, held that Title VI disparate-impact regulations may be enforced through a private right of action. Cannon was decided on the assumption that the respondent there had intentionally discriminated against the petitioner, see 441 U. S., at 680. In Guardians Assn. v. Civil Serv. Comm'n of New York City, 463 U. S. 582, the Court held that private individuals could not recover compensatory damages under Title ...

Solution Summary

In a 2007 word solution, the response gives a detailed description of cases to illustrate disparate impact and disparate treatment.