Hostility in the workplace can be present in many different ways. Harassment in the workplace involves offensive conduct. The offensive conduct can occur between two employees or an employer and employee. Employment discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently by an employer regarding firing, hiring, benefits, and promotions. Another form of hostility, disparate treatment, is similar to both workplace harassment and employment discrimination.

What Is Disparate Treatment?

Disparate treatment refers to an employee being treated differently from other employees. The different treatment is intentional and based on one or more things about the employee.

Is Disparate Treatment the Same as Adverse Impact?

No. Disparate treatment is about treating a particular person differently. Adverse impact is unintentional. It happens to a protected group of people rather than a particular person.

What Is a Protected Group?

A protected group of people are people that cannot be discriminated or harassed because of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender

How Does Disparate Treatment Occur?

This type of harassment/discrimination occurs when a supervisor allows a group of their employees to receive particular benefits such as vacation time. However, the supervisor may not allow one employee the same benefits. This can happen over the lifetime of the person’s employment or all at once.

How Do I Prove I Received Disparate Treatment from My Employer?

Proving a disparate treatment claim occurred requires showing a jury or judge the discrimination occurred. This is called having a prima facie case. The U.S. Supreme Court has created a four-part test to determine if an employee has a prima facie case:

  1. The employee is a member of a protected class of people.
  2. The employee was actually qualified to receive the job benefit given to other employees.
  3. The employee was actually denied the job benefit. This includes being hired, but not promoted.
  4. The benefit is still available or has been given to someone else who was not in the employee’s protected class.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about Disparate Treatment?

Yes. It is in your best interest to discuss the harassment with an discrimination lawyers. This will allow you to take the best course of action for your legal claim.