There is no question that discrimination occurs in the workplace every day, both here in Ohio and around the country, and it can be implicit and even unnoticed in practice. As a result, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission puts guidelines in place (known as the Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures) to help employers determine whether there are discriminatory employment practices.
One of those guidelines in place is what is known as the “80% rule,” which was designed to help employers determine if they have been discriminatory in their hiring practices. The rule states that employers should be hiring protected groups (i.e. those who are different from white men in terms of ethnic group, race, or sex) at a rate that is at least 80% that of a non-protected group (such as white males). Specifically, the 80% rule dictates that the selection rate of a protected group should be at least 80% of the selection rate of the non-protected group.
Determining whether there has been an adverse impact is based on the rates at which job applicants are hired. For example, if an employer hires 60% of white males applying for a particular job, but only 10% of the female applicants, the case could be made that there is a discrimination issue, as the rate of hiring female applicants is only a percentage of the rate of hiring male applicants, and that percentage is well below the 80% cutoff.
However, the rule has no real authority other than providing guidance so as to potentially call into question a company’s equal employment practices, as those who are not in compliance with it need only provide a legitimate reason as to why they cannot comply with practices that are designed to avoid adverse impacts in terms of substantial differences in employment outcomes for members of a specific group. Establishing legitimacy typically involves the employer justifying the result as being a business necessity, meaning that the procedure is essential to the efficient, safe operation of the business, and there are no alternative procedures that are substantially equally valid that would have a less adverse impact, or that it is job-related.
Note that adverse impact does not just refer to hiring, but other employment practices, including development, promotions, training, layoffs, transfers, performance reviews, and more. Everyone has the right to the same opportunities in the workplace. If you or a loved one has experienced discrimination in the hiring or employment process due to their disability, our Columbus, Ohio, disability discrimination attorneys are here to help. Contact us today to set up a confidential consultation and find out more.
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