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Affirmative Action FAQs

What is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative action is a practice that must be taken by covered employers to identify conspicuous imbalances in their workforce and take positive steps to correct and prevent any underrepresentation of protected classes.  It is an action to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Department of Labor

Affirmative action comes from Executive Order 11246, as amended, which prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year, from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  The Executive Order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment, including recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, training, and related employment areas.– Department of Labor

What is an Affirmative Action Program?

An affirmative action program is a written management tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity. Affirmative action programs contain a diagnostic component which includes a number of quantitative analyses designed to evaluate the composition of the workforce and compare it to the composition of the relevant labor pools. Affirmative action programs also include action-oriented goals. – Department of Labor

What is the purpose of an Affirmative Action Program?

An affirmative action program is to ensure that all persons have equal opportunities in recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, training, discipline and related employment areas. – Department of Labor

What does an Affirmative Action Program consist of?

An affirmative action program must include the following:

  • Organizational Profile
  • Job Group Analysis
  • Placement of incumbents in job groups
  • Availability Analysis
  • Incumbency versus Availability Analysis
  • Placement Goals
    • Designation of responsibility for implementation
    • Identification of problem areas
    • Accomplishment of goals from prior year
    • Action-oriented programs and
    • Periodic internal audits

Are Affirmative Action Program Goals required to be met?

Affirmative action program goals are not required to be met, but it is expected that good faith efforts will be made to meet each goal.  The affirmative action plan must show that good faith efforts were carried out in advertisement, recruitment, promotions, trainings, and terminations. 

Does Affirmative Action mean we are applying different standards toward nonminorities?

No, it means we are applying one standard toward all people, minority and nonminority.  Affirmative action is not the encouragement of hiring candidates who are less than qualified.  Affirmative action is recognizing your community and making sure your organization and its employees are representative of that community. 

Who benefits from Affirmative Action Programs?

Everyone benefits from affirmative action programs. They promote diversity and inclusion among individuals of different race, color, sex, religion, national origin, etc. With diversity, we can learn more about our differences and similarities that will ultimately bring us closer together.