Search Site
21 Main St, Ste 352 | Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Call For Consultation 551-245-8894

Proving Disparate Impact Employment Discrimination in New Jersey

New Jersey law prohibits discrimination in employment. Most often, illegal discrimination takes the form of conduct that deliberately treats people differently based on their membership in a protected class. However, certain policies and practices — even if neutral on their face — might unduly impact employees in a protected class. This is known as disparate impact discrimination.

To prevail in a disparate impact claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the plaintiff is not required to prove that an employer’s action was motivated by a discriminatory intent. Instead, he or she must show that the policy resulted in a significantly disproportionate adverse impact on members of a protected group, such as minorities, women or older workers.

Building a disparate impact case requires the following elements:

  1. Identifying the policy or practice — The policy or practice that is being challenged will likely be neutral on its face, so it does not appear to be discriminatory. It could be a hiring requirement, a promotion criterion, a testing procedure or a workplace culture.
  2. Defining the protected group — The employees disproportionately affected must be definable based on race, gender, age or another protected characteristic under the LAD. The individual bringing the claim must be a member of that protected class.
  3. Establishing disparity and harm — It needs to be demonstrated that the policy or practice inflicts more harm or adversity on members of a particular group of employees who are part of the protected class than it does on employees at large. 
  4. Establishing causation — It must be shown that the disparate consequence experienced by the group in question directly resulted from the employment policy or practice. This may involve analyzing and disproving alternative explanations. 

An example of disparate impact discrimination might be a company requiring a new type of educational degree for certain positions, which would result in excluding a large segment of older workers who graduated college when that degree did not yet exist. 

Usually, statistical evidence is essential for demonstrating a significant impact. Data on hiring rates, promotion statistics, job assignments or disciplinary actions can be analyzed to show how the policy disproportionately disadvantages the protected group. 

Employers can defend against disparate impact claims by demonstrating that the challenged policy or practice serves a legitimate business purpose and is necessary for job performance or safety. Employers could rebut the statistical analysis or offer alternative explanations for the disparities.

If you believe you are the victim of disparate impact discrimination, you may file a complaint with the state Division on Civil Rights or you may be able to bring a lawsuit in state court. An experienced employment law attorney can advise you on the best path and can assist in the process.

The attorneys at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack, New Jersey have the skill and resources to fight against illegal discrimination. Call 551-245-8894 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


Go to the following links for descriptions of selection methodologies for Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review RatingsSuper Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
No aspect of these advertisements has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Contact us

Quick Contact Form