Employers are not allowed to create workplace policies that have a disparate impact on employees. This is true even if a California company had no intention of discriminating against a protected class of people when creating it. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, individuals cannot be treated differently because of their race, gender or religious beliefs. As a general rule, employees must first be able to show that a workplace policy creates a disparate impact.

If an employer can show that this is the case, the employer must prove that the policy is somehow necessary for the business to function. There is currently no test or specific guideline as to what constitutes disparate impact in the workplace. Instead, a ruling will generally be made by looking at the specific facts of a given case. For instance, a statistical analysis may be used to determine if a rule or policy treated some groups differently than others.

The Supreme Court first ruled in a disparate impact case brought by a plaintiff who believed requiring a high school diploma was discriminatory. According to the lawsuit, it discriminated against black applicants because they were less likely to have a diploma. Disparate impact lawsuits may also occur after workers are laid off or if job applicants are required to participate in skills tests.

Individuals who are treated differently based on their gender, race or other protected attributes may be victims of workplace discrimination. An attorney may be able to help a person show that workplace discrimination occurred. This may be done by using hiring records, the wording of job postings or statements made by managers that imply that an employment violation occurred. If successful, a worker may be entitled to compensation and other forms of relief.