Disparate Impact's Impact: The Gender Violence Lens
33 Pages Posted: 10 May 2011 Last revised: 8 Jun 2011
Date Written: May 8, 2011
Although disparate impact theory often is touted as an important remedy for workplace inequality, in practice, it is less frequently used. Nevertheless, it can be a meaningful remedy for gender violence survivors who are subjected to adverse employment actions, or termination, for reasons that may not appear gendered. An employee may argue that the action had an impermissible gender-based disparate impact due to the disproportionate number of survivors who are women. Consequently, disparate impact would seem a natural remedy. This article reviews infrequently explored interpretations that could limit the theory’s utility. It concludes that those limitations should not bar the theory’s use. Instead, disparate impact should offer an alternative remedy for the hidden role domestic and sexual violence plays in perpetuating women’s economic inequality.
Keywords: discrimination, disparate impact, gender
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