What Is Disparate Treatment? Discrimination, And Examples

The term disparate treatment is an adverse treatment where the employer maltreats one employee compared to the others.

The reason for this mistreatment is the specific characteristics of the employee. If one class is protected and other employees are not taken care of, this would also mean disparate treatment.

The employer must check if there is any discrimination in the company. If something like that happens, it is the employer’s duty to sort out the same or address the same.

The outcomes of disparate treatment won’t be good and might create negative interactions, low performances, and employee dissatisfaction.

What Is Disparate Treatment?

Disparaging employees based on how they are and the kind of characteristics they bear is called disparate treatment.

In other words, you can also refer to that treatment as employee profiling. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with the year 1964 provides an idea about this term. It means that when there is gender inequality, race-related comparisons, or age-related profiling.

How Does Disparate Treatment Affect A Business?

When a business, an employer, or a company comes across disparate treatment, it is crucial to address the same quickly. It is vital keeping in mind the moral grounds.

Still, one must also understand that this thing can have legal implications. If employees get anguished over disparate treatment, there can also be lawsuits for the company.

Apart from these issues, disparate treatment within the company can lead to low productivity, low performance, quitting the job, and mistrust among the employees.

These things can be a problem for the company’s fate. It is not suitable for employees to have negative feelings for the employer and the organization. Thus, any disparate treatment must be addressed soon. A few tips to avoid disparate treatment will help prevent further issues.

Suppose the name of the enterprise comes openly into the market, and everyone comes to know about the cases of disparate treatment. In that case, the company’s reputation will be at stake. The company will face the blame for the same.

How To Avoid Disparate Treatment? Tips

Read the tips given below to avoid disparate treatment. When employers understand these tips, they will know how to prevent them.

Keep the flow of communication open.

Employers must encourage the flow of communication within the organization. When there are concerns about disparate treatment, when the employees have fear for their job safety, or some other problems, the employees must have a platform where they can confidentially communicate about the issues they have been facing.

When the employees have a supportive platform, there will be no need for negative interactions or gossip within the organization.

Respect diversity

Employees come from diverse cultures, race and there can be different types of employees in an organization.

Employers must respect diversity and consider the same as mine for multiple talents. When there is a diverse range of employees, the company will get a chance to reform the policies that are good enough for everyone so that each one in the company receives fair treatment and no discrimination.

Create policies that are fair for all.

When employees feel secure at work, they will stay there for a long time and have a sense of belonging.

But this kind of feeling will be possible when the company treats the employees fairly. When the company creates policies that are fair for all, it will encourage the employees to work well and enhance their productivity.

Foster an inclusive atmosphere in the enterprise.

The workplace should have fairness in terms of policies and practices. Employers should contribute to creating a good and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.

Employees should be given equal opportunities to grow. Hence, the employees should get the best satisfaction while working in an organization.

Train the managers to create good relations with employees

In most companies, the managers take care of the employees and are directly connected with them. When managers are trained to communicate and treat the employees well, there will be better communication and good relations. The managers can then look into the matters and avoid disparate treatment.

Understand what things can lead to legal issues due to disparate treatment

It is vital to consult a legal team and understand the characteristics of disparate treatment, how to avoid the same, what legal implications it can invite, and so on. If a company is aware and agile about the legal problems, it can come across due to disparate treatment. It will never indulge in such activities.

Understand The Difference Between Disparate Treatment And Disparate Impact

The word disparate treatment refers to intentional discrimination wherein some employees get unfair treatment from the employer.

This kind of treatment can invite a lawsuit. It is wrong when an employer encourages disparate treatment in an organization.

On the other hand, disparate impacts may be intentional or unintentional. There may be favorable treatment for a particular class. But when the employer can prove that fair treatment is mainly because of the nature of that job, it will not invite any legal implications.

In some cases, the employer gets a chance to prove why he intentionally chose a particular class of employees. One good example is when the fire department chooses male candidates for the job because there will be too much of a load that they will have to carry, and hence more physical strength should be employed to carry out the job.

The nature of the job naturally approves more of men for the job than women because the task includes holding and moving too much of a load.

But when an IT firm hires a software engineer, there should be no gender discrimination. If all that happens, it will be considered an intentional disparate treatment.

Sometimes, employers are in a hurry to employ people for a project. They will hire without thinking much or taking too much time in screening. If unintentionally, the company hires a particular class more than the other; then this can be the case of disparate impact. It is vital to screen the hiring methods, collect feedback and fix the mistakes to avoid legal implications.

So, you can understand that with disparate treatment, there is direct discrimination, and with disparate impact, there is indirect discrimination.

Here are some examples that will provide clarity about disparate treatment.

Examples Of Disparate Treatment

Age discrimination

If a company employs, retains, and promotes only employees abo are around 35 years of age. Due to this discrimination, people around 40 to 50 years of age with better talent still need to get a chance to work or perform in the company.

This case is a clear case of disparate treatment. Such conduct should not take place in any organization. There should be policies to avoid such practices.

Gender discrimination

If the nature of the work demands and there is sex discrimination, then the employer can get that consideration.

But when the heart of the job is that it can accommodate both males and females, there should be equal opportunity for all. If there is discrimination between males and females while hiring or behaving with them in such a job or enterprise, this can be considered disparate treatment.

Racial discrimination

When a particular category of people is given more importance at work than the other, and when race is the factor that leads to discrimination among the employees, then it is intentional disparate treatment.

There is a need to make relevant policy changes that will make working in an organization relatively smooth. Employees who face racial discrimination can report the case to the legal authorities.

With all these details, it is clear that disparate treatment means adverse or unequal treatment, which can affect the good working culture in an organization. It is crucial to check the prejudiced or unintentional actions that the company might take for employees. But when these things lead to cases of discrimination, there will be a problem.

Key Takeaways

  • Disparate treatment is a form of discrimination that occurs when an employer treats an employee or group of employees differently based on their protected characteristics, such as race, gender, or age.
  • Disparate treatment can take many forms, including unequal pay, denial of promotions, and termination of employment.
  • Employers have a legal obligation to prevent and address disparate treatment in the workplace, as it is a violation of anti-discrimination laws.
  • To prevent disparate treatment, employers can implement workplace policies and procedures that promote fairness and equality, including equal pay and promotion opportunities, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and anti-discrimination training.
  • Employees who believe they have experienced disparate treatment can file a complaint with their employer’s HR department or with a government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Employers need to take complaints of disparate treatment seriously and investigate them thoroughly to determine if discrimination has occurred. Employers who fail to address disparate treatment can face legal consequences and damage to their reputation.


Intentionally taking actions that lead to a feeling of discrimination among the employees is called disparate treatment.

Every employer should check whether any such issues are under his nose. In the long run, this concept can create tension in the work environment. The workplace should have inclusion, equity, and diversity. Only then will the workforce feel good, and there will be job satisfaction and a sense of belonging.

Age-related, gender-related, and race-related discrimination can create issues for the company and ignite legal matters. It creates problems for the company as a whole. The employees do not feel like working in such organizations, and there will be too much bitterness among them.


What is Disparate Treatment?

Disparate Treatment is a form of discrimination in which an employer treats an employee or group of employees differently based on their protected characteristics, such as race, gender, or age.

What are some examples of Disparate Treatment?

Examples of Disparate Treatment include unequal pay, denial of promotions, and termination of employment based on protected characteristics.

How is Disparate Treatment different from Disparate Impact?

Disparate Treatment occurs when an employer intentionally discriminates against an employee or group of employees based on their protected characteristics, while Disparate Impact occurs when an employer’s policies or practices have a discriminatory effect on a particular group, even if the employer did not intend to discriminate.

What are the legal consequences of Disparate Treatment?

Disparate Treatment is a violation of anti-discrimination laws, and employers who engage in this form of discrimination can face legal consequences such as fines, damages, and negative publicity.

How can employers prevent Disparate Treatment?

Employers can prevent Disparate Treatment by implementing policies and procedures that promote fairness and equality in the workplace, including equal pay and promotion opportunities, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and anti-discrimination training.

What can employees do if they experience Disparate Treatment?

If an employee experiences Disparate Treatment, they can file a complaint with their employer’s HR department or with a government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

How can HR professionals address Disparate Treatment in the workplace?

HR professionals can address Disparate Treatment in the workplace by providing training and education on anti-discrimination laws and policies, investigating complaints thoroughly, and working with management to implement policies and practices that promote fairness and equality.

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