The Four-Fifths Rule and How to Calculate

How can I check my recruiting process for adverse impact?


First, I commend you for stepping up to the plate and taking action to eliminate discrimination at your company.  Second, please check with your law team because I am not an attorney.


Very easy to do, not always easy to fix.  Adverse impact is defined by the EEOC as a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex or ethnic group.   The generally agreed-upon figure is 4/5ths that is the group in question must have a success rate of 80% of the most successful group.


In pictures,


100 people applied for an Accountant position.  Fifty females and fifty males.  Of all the applicants, only 20 males passed an assessment test during the hiring process, while 48 females passed.  What is 80% of 48? 38.   And 20 males is less than 80% of the female acceptance rate so there is indeed adverse impact going on. 


I encourage ALL recruiters to check themselves when working a job req.  Take the application log and break it down by each milestone in the hiring process:  how many of each ethnic and gender group made it to the next level?  If it is less than 80%, you might have a problem.  Better get to steppin’ on recruiting a more diverse candidate pool.

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