Disparate Impact Definition

A facially neutral law, rule, or policy that disproportionately affects one group. Disparate impact can be the basis of a discrimination claim if the group affected is protected by an anti-discrimination law, like those that bar discrimination based on race, gender, or age.

For example, an employer's policy requiring that all employees must be able to lift 70 pounds could disparately impact women, even though it's silent as to gender. Because it's likely to discriminate, the policy could be the basis of a federal or state discrimination claim.

See also discrimination, disparate treatment