PASADENA, Calif. — Labor attorney Robert Wenzel shared a list of 2008 tips and trends for human resources professionals attending the HRD Network's Annual Conference. Wenzel is a partner in the Cerritos, Calif. Office of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, and specializes in management defense for personnel and labor relations matters.

The attorney began by reviewing the differences between disparate intent, which is defined as intentional discrimination against a protected class, and disparate impact, in which a policy that which is neutral at face value has a tendency to adversely affect a protected class.

Wenzel said regulators and courts are taking a greater interest in disparate impact cases than in years past, noting that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission changed reporting methods in 2007 — the first time in almost 40 years — in an effort to more accurately report hiring and advancement practices as they are applied to protected classes.

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