Disparate treatment is one kind of unlawful discrimination in US labor law. In the United States, it means unequal behavior toward someone because of a protected characteristic (e.g. race or gender) under Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act.
This contrasts with disparate impact, where an employer applies a neutral rule that treats everyone equally in form, but has a disadvantageous effect on some people of a protected characteristic compared to others.
Title VII prohibits employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their membership in a protected class. A disparate treatment violation is made out when an individual of a protected group is shown to have been singled out and treated less favorably than others similarly situated on the basis of an impermissible criterion under Title VII. The issue is whether the employer’s actions were motivated by discriminatory intent. Discriminatory intent can either be shown by direct evidence, or through indirect or circumstantial evidence.