To: Larry Simpson
From: Rene Mendez
Date: May 31, 2009
Re: Letter to the Editor
Many human resource managers and directors face the prospect of disparate impact each and
every day they are recruiting for a position that has been advertised by the company/employer.
Under Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) law, a less favorable effect for one group than for
another, a disparate impact, results when rules applied to all employees have a different and
more inhibiting effect on women and minority groups than on the majority. Additionally,
employment practices that are facially neutral in their treatment of different groups but have a
significantly adverse effect on a protected group must be taken into account when making
decisions such as testing, interview questions, and even offering benefits. This entails having
those that are tasked with employing individuals for their employers to take into account things
such as asking questions that are specific to the individual’s job. For example, giving a firefighter
an exam that asks the individual questions that would, as a result of an individual’s propensity to
live in a suburban area, a better opportunity to answer the question, results in disparate impact.
Therefore, asking questions that are specific to the job, such as, the procedures a firefighter
should follow when they encounter a fire, would definitely avoid this situation. The fact remains
that a certain demographic of the population, have a higher likelihood of living in a suburban
area, indirectly, provides them an advantage, when answering a question as to what would be
the first thing he/she would do in a major fire that might require contacting the governor for
assistance, as opposed to contacting the mayor.
The confirmation hearing of Judge Sotomayor will hopefully encounter a group of Senators that
have taken the time to research the entire, context of a situation, as opposed to utilizing a 90-
second YouTube video.