Affirmative action refers to the policies established with an aim of eliminating discrimination of people in terms of their sex, color or nationality. They are principally oriented towards ensuring equity in employment and in working places.
The whole issue of affirmative action is complex with potential debate ranging from societal equality to devaluation of achievements and promotion of racial tension.
Affirmative action has a long trailing history in the United States which can be traced back to 1961when president John F Kennedy signed the Executive Order 10925 which deterred employers from discriminating potential employees in terms of color or race as well as treating them differently in working places. In this paper, the author pays particular attention to the different employers who are subject to affirmative action plans as well as what they are required to do. The author takes the discussion a step further by identifying the consequences of not meeting the affirmative action plan.
Affirmative action plans are principally oriented towards equal opportunities and treatment in both private and public sectors.
Several laws have been put forth in the United States to ensure that affirmative actions plans features in all organization and are followed to achieve the intended goals (Ingraham, et al, 2007). These laws apply to different forms of organizations ranging from educational to public sector and employment agencies. However, the applicability is dependent on the number of employees the organization can accommodate and the potential employees in that locality.
Several institutions in America have established affirmative actions voluntarily, through court orders or under the federal government acts.
For instance, the Department of the Army Affirmative Action Plans under the support of the secretary, staff agencies and army commands established affirmative action policies and initiatives for effective personnel management which ensured that all members of the army were treated equally, fairly and with justice regardless or their nationality, color, race or gender.
These plans applied to all members and branches of the army with unexceptional of the Army National Guard. The affirmative action plan strengthened the recruitment and accessions process by ensuring that all qualified personnel had equal opportunities for service in the army through comprehensive evaluation of their special qualifications, preferences and requirements of the army (Ingraham, et al, 2007).
Further to this, it ensured centralized promotion skills by maintaining fair representation of gender and races and through keeping of results of promotion criteria for checks of disparities. Still to be noted here is the provision of equal opportunities to military education which was achieved through the keeping records of selecting criteria for confirmation of discrepancies. It also eliminated sexual harassment and discrimination by implementing inspection and investigation procedures of similar cases.
The general human rights which govern the well being of people by giving them freedom of interaction among people of any state were granted in 1986 through the endorsement of the Equal Protection Clause (FindLaw, 2010). This clause deterred state leaders from using the law to discriminate the minority races. As a result therefore, all individuals where given equal opportunities to explore any part of the state and discover any opportunities which could be utilized for the well being of the individual and the society at large.
Educational institutions in the United States were characterized by discrimination of the minority especially the blacks. But the case of Brown verses the Board of education resulted to the establishment of affirmative action plan which saw through the desegregation of public schools to accommodate all races. The court ruling that separate educational institutions as well as educational facilities violated the fourteenth amendment and hence the Equal Protection Clouse was a key factor in elimination educational discrimination (FindLaw, 2010). Establishment of equal educational opportunities to all people was vital for the development of the country because the potential and capability of an individual in achieving career excellence is not determined by gender or race.
Federal government financed projects are also integrated with affirmative actions to ensure that employment opportunities and procedures are not discriminative on racial basis. This affirmative action was endorsed by the then president Kennedy through the Executive Order number 10925. The endorsement of this plan was essential in ensuring uniformity in job distribution among the diverse members of the country. All individuals in the country participated in one way or another in the establishment of the federal government and hence they had equal opportunities to enjoy the benefits of their government.
Discrimination of minority on federal contractors and subcontractors was underscored by the issuing of the Executive Order 11375 which was aimed to remedy the present and the past discrimination of the minority, women and the disadvantaged. In this order, federal contractors and subcontractors were required to employ the low class people when available and to treat them equally without discriminatory based on status (FindLaw, 2010).
This order was principally oriented towards increasing employment opportunities to certain racial groups and women. It required any organization which is funded by the federal government, has more than fifty employees and average revenue of more than $50,000 from a single contract to provide a written affirmative action within the first twelve months (FindLaw, 2010). The affirmative action had to include the objectives and procedures of fully utilizing the minority races and women as per the existing labor force quotas and the availability of women and minorities in that locality (Raskin, 1997)..