The purpose of this paper is to review the subject of affirmative action, and the policies that go along with it. The paper will be recommending to a board of directors that their business implement affirmative action policies. This argument will be supported by points and facts that are in favor of the implementation. It will also fairly discuss points against the implementation of affirmative action. The paper will cover points about how affirmative action policies relate to compliance with the equal opportunity laws. Before getting to far ahead, it is important to make sure that there is a valid understanding of what affirmative action actually is, and what its policies stand for.
What is affirmative action?
Affirmative action means that steps are taken to help increase the representation of women, and other minorities in areas like education, employment, and business. These are all areas from which they have typically and historically been excluded. It is when these steps involve preferential treatment or selection based on gender, race, and ethnicity then the concept of affirmative action becomes controversial (Affirmative Action, 2001). History of affirmative action
In 1961, then President John F. Kennedy issued executive order 10925 against American Lexicon. The order gave the first mention of affirmative action. The purpose of the order was to end discrimination within the business (Nittle, n.d.). Next, three years later in 1964, The Civil Right Act came out. The goal of the Civil Right Act of 1964 was to stop employment and public accommodations discrimination (Nittle, n.d.). Following the Civil Right Act of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson, who took office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, issued executive order 11246. This order required federal contractors to practice affirmative action, to help develop diversity within the workplace and help end race based discrimination, and other forms of discrimination (Nittle, n.d.).
Before these amendments were signed into action, you had other key events that took place as well. For example, the case of Brown v Board of Education. This case was about an African American girl who wanted to attend a white public school, and was denied admittance. This case helped overturn a prior case Plessy v Ferguson. Plessy v Ferguson stated that a separate but equal America was constitutional (Nittle, n.d.). Brown v Board overturned that case by ruling that discrimination is a key aspect of racial segregation. Which meant that it violated the 14th Amendment (Nittle, n.d.). This decision started the countries goal to promote diversity in schools and various other places (Nittle, n.d.). This was a very important legal, as well as ethical case. It helped kick start the changes to people’s thought processes.
Why affirmative action?
Now that a bit of history on affirmative action has been covered, it is important to look at why affirmative action policies should be put into action at your company. Affirmative action would be very beneficial to your company for many reasons. It allows for a more diversified workplace, it is a way to allow all races to have equal rights, it shows that everyone has the ability to be great at their job, that people can be more productive by sharing various thoughts, plans, and ideas for the betterment of not only the company, but themselves as well, regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity.
This company should hire people based on things like their level of experience and skill, and whether they have the aspects necessary for that position. The hiring process should not be based on the person’s racial or ethnic background, or whether they are a male or a female. People should be comfortable enough that when they apply for a position within your company they do not worry about whether or not they are being discriminated against. All that should matter is that they have the skills necessary to do the job to the best of their ability. Not whether or not they are the proper gender or if they are the right ethnicity.
If someone applies for a job at your company, and they feel they may have been discriminated against, and then they ask you about it, if you dont give them a reasonable response or answer them correctly it can cause problems for the company. Whether it be through long bitter court battles, or just the company gains a bad name for even potentially being prejudiced or biased.
Employment discrimination against women and minorities is something that has gone on for a very long time. Government reports show that the pay, as well as job opportunities for minorities is smaller than that of white or Caucasian ethnicity ( Bohlander & Snell, 2007).
If your company implements affirmative action, it can be beneficial from the outside and inside as well. One thing that needs to be done to begin the action, is to develop a plan. Your company needs to have a written statement showing commitment to the idea of affirmative action. You should look at where the company stands in terms of women and minorities that you have employed. By doing so, it will allow for you to see where changes, if any, need to be made. Once you see where the improvements and changes are, you need to take the right steps to make sure these changes are made. While making these changes, you have to make sure that no other race or gender within your employee base was mistreated, or undervalued in any way due to the affirmative action plan. Equal employment opportunity law
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, all businesses have an obligation to uphold. They are not to judge a potential employee based on ones race, gender, age, etc. This is a very important aspect of affirmative action. You have to make sure that your company understands and follows the policy ( Bohlander & Snell, 2007).
The court system is always interpreting the employment law. If changes are made, then it is the manager of your company’s responsibility to change the company’s employment guidelines to follow the court ruling (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). To help make sure that business do comply with the changes, and anti discrimination laws, the Equal Employment Opportunities Council was established to monitor that the guidelines are being followed (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).
Benefits of affirmative action
There are many benefits for your company to implementing an affirmative action plan. The employee’s themselves will benefit for instance, because minorities that are employed within your company have the chance to advance up the career ladder, and gain opportunities for promotions that they may not have had a chance of getting before.
Your company shouldn’t be made up of one race, one ethnicity, or one gender because you think that one is better than the other. If a person has or gets a job, it should be due to their qualifications and abilities to do the job correctly. Not based on race or gender. The downfalls of affirmative action
With almost any argument in favor of something, you are going to have opinions refuting the ideas. Some believe that affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination. That instead of being hired for their qualifications and skill, that they are hired based on religion, race, gender, etc. Opponents feel that it can make people turn against one another. Preventing the downfalls of affirmative action
The cons of affirmative action can be avoided as long as your company takes the proper steps. The company needs to look for the best people for the unfilled positions, and do the proper training if needed. To help prevent your employees from feeling as if the only reason they got the job with your company was due to their gender or race, make sure that you let them know they were hired because they had the needed experience or qualifications and therefore they were the best match.
It is important to make sure that your company sticks to the plan that was laid out in the beginning, to the affirmative action plan that was developed. You watch over all of your employees, and not just those who are impacted more by the plan, the work environment at your company should stay sustainable and comfortable for all employees.
Affirmative action would be a great idea for your company. The purpose of this presentation was to show both the pro’s and the con’s of implementing affirmative action within your company, which is hopefully what was done. The main thing to remember here is that the benefits to implementing affirmative action, strongly outweigh the pitfalls. Also, the opposition to the plan can be avoided by following your action plan, and the steps provided for avoidance of those downfalls. It is hoped that you will choose to use the affirmative action policy within your company, as it is something that will most definitely help and payoff in your company’s future.
Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S. A., (2007). Managing human resources (14th ed.). Florence, KY: Thomson Learning Higher Education. Nittle, N.K. (n.d.). Key events in affirmative action history. Retrieved from http://racerelations.about.com/od/historyofracerelations/a/TheFiveLandmarkEventsWhichLedtoAffirmativeActionsRise.htm Affirmative action. (2001). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/