Disparate treatment refers to a form of discrimination which is used for proving illegal employment discrimination against an employer. When a disparate treatment claim is filed against an employer, the employee alleges that they were treated in a different way compared other employees in a similar situation. It also entails that the difference was due to the employee being a member of a protected class. This means that the employee was treated differently because of their age, sex, race, religion, or any other protected characteristic. This discriminatory practice is prohibited under Illinois laws, and can lead to serious consequences for employers.
Understanding Disparate Treatment
According to the United States Supreme Court, disparate treatment discrimination is defined as the treatment of an employee that is less favorable than others due to their protected trait. For an employer to be considered liable for this kind of discrimination depends on whether their decision was motivated by the employee’s protected characteristic. Generally, disparate treatment discrimination is intentional in nature, in contrast to disparate impact, which is unintentional.
For example, José is a salesman, and he is fired because of being unable to meet his sales target for that particular month. José can file a claim that he was fired because of his ethnicity. In order to prove this, he would have to show that other employees who didn’t belong to a protected class were unable to meet their targets as well but were not fired.
Proving a Disparate Treatment Claim in Illinois
First of all, there should be enough evidence present to show the jury or judge that discrimination based on disparate treatment took place. This type of case is known as a prima facie case, because you show at first appearance that your employer resorted to discrimination. The evidence should be able to show the following:
- You belong to a protected class
- You were eligible for the position or job benefit
- You were denied or discharged from getting that position or job benefit
- The position or job benefit was given to someone who was not a member of the similar protected class or it remains available.
All these elements establish that others were treated more favorably and were granted what should have been given to you.
A disparate treatment discrimination claim presented as a prima facie case generally involves three steps:
- First you produce evidence that your employer treated you differently because you are a member of a protected class. The evidence should include all the above four elements.
- Now your employer is required to give a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for making such a decision to counter your allegation. It is important to note that the employer does not have to prove that they discriminate, they just have to show some evidence to support their reasons.
- To support your claim, you can respond by showing that the employer’s reason is a pretext for discrimination. You may have to produce some evidence that makes the reason questionable and enables the judge or jury to conclude that the decision was based on discrimination.
Discuss your Case with an Employment Discrimination Lawyer Today
If you think you are a victim of age and sex discrimination based on disparate treatment by your employer, you should talk to an experienced and knowledgeable Roselle employment discrimination attorney who can provide skilled legal counsel for your case. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith if you would like to consult a professional lawyer.