Best Employment Discrimination Lawyer’s response: Can my job give men better benefits than women? What can I do if my boss treats Black workers less favorable than White employees? Can my company apply different standards based on an employee’s national origin, age, race or gender?
Many people wrongly think that to prevail on an employment discrimination claim, there must be a wrongful termination. This is not true. Employment discrimination cases also arise when there is disparate treatment. Under the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and comparable state laws, disparate treatment happens when an employer treats an employee unfairly different based on that employee’s race/color, religion, gender/sex (including pregnancy and LGBT+ status), national origin, age, or disability. Disparate treatment occurs where an employer provides less favorable treatment or worse/less benefits to members of one of the protected classes of workers as opposed to workers who are outside that protected class.
The United States Supreme Court in International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324, 97 S.Ct. 1843, 52 L.Ed.2d 396 (1977) defined disparate treatment as follows:
“Disparate treatment … is the most easily understood type of discrimination. The employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Proof of discriminatory motive is critical, although it can in some situations be inferred from the mere fact of differences in treatment.”
Thus, unlike intentional discrimination, where the affected employee must prove his or her claim by showing that the discriminating boss, manager or supervisor intentionally discriminated against the employee because of a protected class, disparate treatment occurs where employers simply treat a group of employees less favorably than others because of that protected class. When establishing a case of disparate treatment, the necessary element of discriminatory motive by the employer may be inferred from a sufficient showing of disparity between members of the protected class and those outside that class affected class. To that end, a showing of actual discriminatory intent against the individual employee is not necessary in this type of case.
Our employment attorneys recently blogged about one example where a Mexican-American employee was given less progressive disciplinary steps that White employees. (See Can Unequal Progressive Discipline Prove Discrimination?). Another example would be assigning all members of a protected class to work unfavorable shifts, such as putting making most of the Black employees work the third shift or making all the women work on Sundays. It could be a situation where employees of color are not given regular raises or bonuses, but White workers received bonuses and raises annually.
Diana Webb’s recent lawsuit against Walmart in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama provides another good example. Webb works as a delivery driver for Walmart. Walmart requires a uniform and will give uniforms to all its drivers. If the drivers use the Walmart provided uniform, Walmart will launder the uniform for the drivers. If the drivers choose to wear compliant clothes other than that provided by Walmart, the employee must lauder to outfit at the employee’s cost. So far, no problem.
But, this is where the problem starts. The uniform provided by Walmart are only in men’s sizes and designs. This means that for the many women who don’t fit or feel comfortable wearing men’s pants or shorts, it costs them more to do the same job as the men.
Can you imaging the reaction if the selection of clothes was reversed, and men were required to wear women’s clothes?
Webb’s lawsuit seeks to set up a nationwide class action where affected female workers recover $400-$500 apiece. I suspect that Walmart will be looking for a way to resolve this issue soon.
If you are searching “I’m being treated unfairly at work,” “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against or harassed based on my …” race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our lawyers in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Cincinnati to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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