Disparate Impact is a legal doctrine under the Fair Housing Act which means that a policy or practice may be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionate "adverse impact" against any group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Why Does It Matter?
Disparate impact theory safeguards the right to a fair shot for everyone. Where you live determines where you work and how you get there, your access to healthcare, and the school your child attends. Unfortunately, policies and practices still exist that – intentionally or unintentionally - keep some people out of housing they can afford simply because of who they are.
Additionally, from a business standpoint the disparate impact theory helps us maintain open markets free from discrimination – a critical component to the prosperity of America’s future. Discrimination disrupts our economy, causing inefficiency and instability by constraining the full economic participation of all hard-working Americans.
The National Fair Housing Alliance has put together a nice page providing a number of great documents and resources to help understand the issue better at http://www.nationalfairhousing.org/PublicPolicy/DisparateImpact/tabid/42...