Historical, Philosophical, moral, and Legal perspective on Affirmative
term affirmative action means different things to different people.
If you ask random people what Affirmative Action is, you will get
different responses. Some will tell you it is about equal opportunity
in the workplace. Others will say it is about reverse discrimination.
Others consider it is a public policy to address the racist legacy
need to make sure that they are not using methods that limit opportunities
for employees. They should see affirmative action as reaching out
to ethnic minorities or women, creating diversity in the workplace,
to achieve gender, race, and ethnic diversity. If you don't have
the right people, regardless of their race and sex, you will have
trouble getting your work done.
a historical perspective, the term Affirmative Action was first
used by President Kennedy in 1961 when he issued Executive Order
10925, prohibiting discrimination on the grounds or race, color,
or national origin. The Order also required the government to take
affirmative action to realize more fully the national policy of
nondiscrimination. Out of this action, the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) was born. The EEOC is a government agency that
enforces federal law prohibiting employment discrimination. These
laws are enforceable for any company or agency that has more than
50 employees or a contract with the federal government totaling
more than $150,000.
relevant legislative efforts are listed below:
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: As amended, prohibits employment
discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or
Discrimination Act of 1967: As amended, prohibits employment discrimination
against individuals over the age of 40.
Pay Act of 1963: Prohibits compensation discrimination on the
basis of gender for similar work under similar conditions.
501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Prohibits employment discrimination
in the federal government against individuals with disabilities.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Prohibits
employment discrimination on the basis of disability in both the
public and the private sector, but excludes the federal government.
Rights Act of 1991: Provides for monetary compensation in cases
of intentional discrimination.
a political perspective, affirmative action is a series of public
policies and initiatives intended to alleviate past and present
discrimination. Such policies are intended to promote social change
in a positive way. Controversy attends the interpretation and implementation
of these laws. Some people argue that these policies lead to the
best employment policies that that helps everyone in an organization
regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. Others are apt to call
it reverse discrimination. Employers must enact practices to ensure
discrimination does not take place while keeping careful employment
records and data so this effort can be tracked. "The proper approach
is to use affirmative action as a management tool to develop a strategic
plan to determine if you have fairness in terms of diversity and
fair labor practices. If you don't have the right people, regardless
of their race and sex, you will have trouble getting your work done."
1978 Supreme Court case (Bakke vs. University of California at Davis)
declared quotas illegal and set the boundaries for affirmative action.
In this case, a college had set aside a specific number of places
in each class in its medical school for qualified minority applicants.
The Supreme Court declared such policies illegal. But the Court
also decided that minority status might be used as a factor in admissions,
because the goal of a diverse student body was a "compelling goal
in an educational context." Affirmative action now requires employers
to critically examine their hiring processes and demographics. Employers
are required to post job vacancies in targeted populations like
on womenandminorities.com, rather than rely on word of mouth, and
develop a systematic process for evaluating and hiring candidates
as a self-examination process that makes opportunities available
to people who have not traditionally been represented in the workplace.
"The policy says your only obligation is to hire people you believe
are qualified," according to Alvarez. "It doesn't say that if you
have two candidates, one who is white and one who is from an ethnic
minority, that you have to hire the ethnic minority. All it says
is that if there is a pattern of disproportionately excluding ethnic
minorities and women, then the employer needs to explain the reason
for the pattern. If there is a business reason for that pattern,
then that's okay. But if there is no reasonable explanation, then
there is a suspicion that discrimination might be taking place.
almost 40 years on the books, affirmative action remains a controversial
and often misunderstood public policy. Workers and employers are
generally unsure of how it operates. People on both sides of the
fence--minorities, women, whites, and men--frequently feel that
the policy affects them unfairly. But defenders try their best to
view the beleaguered policy in simple terms. It provides equal opportunity
to everyone. Let our website womenandminorities.com help you achieve
your Affirmative Action and Diversity Goals.