Some people in Michigan who are aware of their employment rights regarding intentional discrimination in the workplace might not know about disparate impact discrimination. This occurs when discrimination is not deliberate but there are rules in place that have a discriminatory effect all the same.

The first case dealing with disparate impact discrimination that reached the U.S. Supreme Court involved a company that required employees to have a high school diploma. While this was not put in place to discriminate racially, the effect was keeping more African-American employees out of the job because they were less likely to have one.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers against discrimination based on such protected characteristics as gender or race. The Supreme Court said in response to a Title VII case that the burden of proof is on the employer once an employee is able to show that one of their policies has a disparate impact on them as part of a protected class. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for the employee to prove in the first place. Disparate impact discrimination often occurs when an employer has skills testing for potential employees or layoffs that affect a large group of people. Individuals who believe they are facing disparate impact discrimination may want to consult an attorney.

An attorney may be able to advise the client about how to proceed whether the alleged discrimination is intentional or disparate impact. There might be policies in place at the workplace dealing with discrimination. If the client is still employed there, the first step might be to report the discrimination. Workplaces should not retaliate against employees for making a report of this nature and should do an investigation. If their response is unsatisfactory, there may be additional legal remedies available.