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Actions that negatively affect individuals in particular groups as defined by race, color, religion, sex, or national origin are referred to as having a disparate or disproportionate impact. The concept of disparate impact flows from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the large amount of litigation it fostered. Much of the litigation surrounding disparate impact is based on statistical proof of the discriminatory effects of employment practices.

In Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court explained that the purpose of Title VII was to remove unnecessary barriers that inadvertently discriminated on the basis of impermissible classifications. In Griggs, the Court held that facially neutral employment practices may be included under Title VII if they led to the disproportionate representation ...

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