Affirmative Action Paper “Affirmative action was never meant to be permanent, and now is truly the time to move on to some other approach. ” (Susan Estrich, 1952- ). The exact intent of Susan Estrich’s quote can be interpreted in various ways, but it is important that an understanding or definition of affirmative action be provided. “Affirmative action is defined as the intentional inclusion of women and minorities in the workplace based on a finding of their previous exclusion and/or underrepresentation. ” (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 775).
It is commonly misconceived that affirmative action applies to everyone. This is not necessarily the truth, as affirmative action regulations only apply to about twenty percent of the workforce. (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 184). Many people think the regulations for affirmative action reside in the requirements of Title VII. The fact is, Title VII does have a section that addresses this statue, however affirmative action stems from a requirement imposed by Executive Order 11246 and it amendments. In addition to Executive Order 11246, there are two other acts that have additional requirements.
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The Rehabilitation Act requires affirmative action plans for the recruitment of disabled candidates, and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 requires affirmative action plans for the purpose of employing disabled and qualified veterans who served on active duty between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 in 1965. The executive order is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) with-in the United States Department of Labor.
The order prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who perform over $10,000. 00 in Government business in a one year period from discriminating in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Additionally, every Government contractor with fifty or more employees and $50,000. 00 or more in Government contracts is required to develop a written affirmative action program (AAP) for each of its establishments.
The contractor or subcontractor must design and implement an AAP whenever women or minorities are underutilized or underrepresented in the workforce. This includes developing a self-assessment activity that periodically measures the success of the program; to create a means for reporting the information, and the ability to keep management at all levels informed. The program must also establish a schedule for the elimination of disparities and address the satisfaction of the program goals. Employers who fail to comply with the requirements of affirmative action programs can incur a number of penalties.
One of the penalties would place the nonconforming employer on a listing, which would bar them from any future opportunity of bidding on contracts, plus terminate or suspend any existing agreements. Since many of these contractors depend on federal work, this could be a financial disaster for most companies. In cases where substantial violations exist, the contracting agency can recommend to the EEOC or Department of Justice that proceedings be enacted to enforce compliance with the executive order, and in some cases, criminal proceedings will be pursued.
However, before canceling, or terminating a contract, and before criminal proceedings are processed, the Secretary of Labor will make every reasonable effort to mediate the issues with employers. One of Susan Estrich’s concerns in her quote could be the issue with reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is described as, ” lawsuits or claims brought by majority members who feel adversely affected by the use of an affirmative action plan. ” (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 779). Probably one of the most widely known cases of this was the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
In this case, a white male student, Allan Bakke, sued the University of California, Davis medical school on the grounds they discriminated against him because of his sex and race. On two separate occasions he was rejected for admittance, even though he had a higher grade point average than a number of minority candidates who were admitted. The U. S. Supreme Court ultimately decided this case and the decision was that the use of quotas in such affirmative actions programs was not permissible and that Mr. Bakke had been a victim of discrimination. Allan was subsequently admitted to the medical school and graduated in 1992.
This type of reverse discrimination has often been considered as a negative by-product of affirmative action programs. Most employers have come to the acceptance that affirmative action legislation is a reality in the modern workplace. However, we cannot forget that the number one goal of most businesses is to maximize shareholder wealth, and the most important way to accomplish this is to allow the employer to employ the most competent individual for the position. Equally, the employer should not be allowed to discriminate against a candidate because of their race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
With this in mind, it seems unnecessary in the current environment to adhere to any policy that would cause a business to do otherwise. In conclusion, Affirmative Action is necessary to prevent discrimination and to address stereotypical thinking and bias that still exist in the workplace. Federal contractors and subcontractors have changed the company employee configuration as a result of the requirements of Executive Order 11246, The Rehabilitation Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and other laws enforced by The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
An effective affirmative action plan will foster diversity among the employees of the business and protect the employer from expensive and time consuming litigations based on lawsuits and penalties. References Bennett-Alexander, Dawn D. , & Hartman, Laura P. (2007). Employment Law for Business (5th ed. ). New York: McGraw-Hill. U. S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION. (2008). About Equal Employment Opportunity, Retrieved July 11, 2008, from http://eeoc. gov U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. (2008). Executive Order 11246, Retrieved July 22, 2008, from http://www. dol. gov/esa