The determination of who is similarly situated is central to the prosecution and defense of a discrimination case. This is because determining whether discrimination actually occurred is a comparative exercise. Whether in self-audits or in the defense of allegations of discrimination, it is important for contractors to understand how to identify who is similarly situated to whom for purposes of equal opportunity analysis.

When the compliance evaluation begins, the compliance officer is running numbers through a computer program to determine if there is an imbalance in outcomes such as hiring, pay rates, promotions, or terminations that would indicate a need for further, more thorough, investigation. A statistical tipping point such as two or more standard deviations from the norm or an established degree of disparity in a pay snapshot