Disparate Impact

Definition - What does Disparate Impact mean?

Disparate impact is a negative effect of a regulation that affects a group of people without having the intention to do so.

Disparate impact often occurs in the areas of employment, housing and the education system.

Justipedia explains Disparate Impact

An example of disparate impact is if an employer asks all potential applicants to test their skills and includes in the test are things that only able-bodied people can do. By default, and unintentionally, the employer would be breaking equal opportunity and discrimination laws by presenting a situation that a disabled applicant would not pass due to the one aspect of the test that only able-bodied people can do.

Due to internal regulations regarding affirmative action and their desire to include applicants from every category of life and ethnicity – with an emphasis on any specific minority – universities sometimes face this problem due to the fact that there are fewer spaces available for applicants who fall outside that minority. This would create a disparate impact on the applicants.

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