In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Adverse Impact and Equal Employment Opportunity Analytics

  • Introduction
  • General Texts

Management Adverse Impact and Equal Employment Opportunity Analytics
Scott Morris, Maxwell Porter
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 October 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0153


Differential employment outcomes based on ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, disability, and many other social groupings have long been a concern in the US workplace. In some situations, these disparities may signal illegal employment discrimination, but at other times they can reflect inadvertent consequences of job qualifications not being evenly distributed across groups. Understanding these disparities is central to employment discrimination litigation, compliance with federal equal employment opportunity regulations, and voluntary affirmative action efforts. In this article, we review how such disparities are evaluated in the US legal system, describe methods for analyzing workforce data to identify disparities, and discuss strategies for reducing differential outcomes in employee selection and other employment decisions.

General Texts

A number of general texts cover the relevant background and its application to understanding workplace disparities. This includes general texts on industrial/organizational psychology and human resource management (Cascio and Aguinis 2011) and equal employment opportunity law (Gutman, et al. 2010; Hanvey and Sady 2015; Landy 2005). Other books provide more focused coverage of adverse impact, including those that focus on data-analysis (Morris and Dunleavy 2017), as well as broader discussions of the causes of disparities and how to reduce them (Outtz 2010).

  • Cascio, W. F., and H. Aguinis. Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2011.

    Comprehensive text on industrial psychology, covering broad content domains such as legal issues, selection systems, adverse impact, job analysis, performance management, and succession planning.

  • Gutman, A., L. Koppes, and S. Vodanovich. EEO Law and Personal Practices. 3d ed. New York: Routledge, 2010.

    This book presents a comprehensive summary of equal employment opportunity laws, legal theories of discrimination, and legal obligations regarding human resource practices, presented in a way that is accessible to non-lawyers.

  • Hanvey, C., and K. Sady, eds. Practitioner’s Guide to Legal Issues in Organizations. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2015.

    This edited volume helps HR practitioners promote fairness and legal defensibility of employment practices related to employee selection, compensation, disability accommodation, and wage and hour policies.

  • Landy, F. J., ed. Employment Discrimination Litigation: Behavioral, Quantitative and Legal Perspectives. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

    This edited volume provides a broad overview of employment discrimination, integrating legal frameworks, data-analysis strategies, professional practice, and social-science theories of discrimination.

  • Morris, S. B., and E. M. Dunleavy, eds. Adverse Impact Analysis: Understanding Data, Statistics and Risk. New York: Routledge, 2017.

    This edited volume provides a comprehensive examination of the data and statistical tools used to evaluate employment disparities in hiring, promotion, termination, and compensation practices.

  • Outtz, J. L. ed. Adverse Impact: Implications for Organizational Staffing and High Stakes Selection. New York: Psychology Press, 2010.

    This edited volume provides a broad overview of research and practice related to assessing, understanding, and reducing minority-group disparities in employment decisions.

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