Human Resource Management is one of the most important parts of an organization. This is due to the fact that it gives due attention to an essential asset in an organization, which is its employees. Due to this, the human resource management has the responsibility of hiring, organizing, motivating, and dealing with other employee-management concern. In relation to these, the concept of affirmative action is also one of the issues that the human resource management has to deal with. It is within their prerogative and authority to implement the policy of affirmative action in the operations of their organization.
This could be exemplified through this recent article that discuses the idea of affirmative action in the workplace. This article explains the decision of the Supreme Court with regards to the case of Ricci, et al v. DeStefano that is related with the implementation of affirmative action. The lawsuit is against the city of New Haven, Connecticut that was filed by 18 White firefighters that also belong in the same place. They argued that the municipality discriminated against them when it comes to their promotions, which violated their constitutional rights.
In connection to this, they also claimed that they were denied the promotion because they were White. The main root of the case is the New Haven’s 2003 promotion exam that was held in order to help in selecting 15 firefighters that would occupy the positions of captain and lieutenant in the fire department. 118 candidates took the exam and 27 of them are African Americans. The results of the test showed that no African American scored high enough in order to qualify for the position.
Being the case, the city did not promote anyone and they defended this decision through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed racial segregation (Krenkel, 2009). The case of alleging reverse discrimination that was filed against the city of New Haven, Connecticut was ruled by the federal district court in favor of the city. An appeal was made regarding this case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirmed the district court’s ruling but they added an opinion that required the review of the United States Supreme Court. Currently, the case has reached the Supreme Court and the trial is still undergoing (Whelan, 2009).
The issue in this case is with regards to the authority of the municipalities on whether they could decline to certify the results of promotion exams in order not to disproportionately make more white applicants eligible for promotion in comparison with the minority applicants. This issue could be rooted from the reason that the authorities that are involved in this case are afraid that certifying the results of the examination for the promotion of more white applicants would be taken against them that could lead to charges of racial discrimination.
In this situation, it is quite observable that the implementation of affirmative action has become complicated and problematic. It even led to a court battle that reached the Supreme Court. This only goes to show that applying the principle of affirmative action in the workplace is not appropriate anymore because favoring minority group sometimes infringed upon the rights of those that belong to the majority. In relation to these, the idea of affirmative action could also be seen as inequality because it tends to favor the minority.
This could be seen in this case wherein the examination for the promotion of firefighters was disregarded because of the fact that no African American pass the exam. Despite the notion that the city could disregard the exam as it did not yield the result that they wanted, it still affected the White firefighters who were also availing for promotion. Their efforts for preparing and passing the exam was taken for granted. This kind of situation could de-motivate the other employees especially those that belong in the majority group.
Organizations could still be able to maintain equality and prevent discrimination in the workplace by applying the proper standards and measures for this not to happen. However, in terms of admission and promotion they should not favor a certain group over the other especially if they are sure that the proper procedure like a promotion exam has done its job to choose the best people for the position. By doing so, they could still be able to address the concern and at the same give importance to all stakeholders that are involve.
Courtney from Study Moose
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