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Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action

What exactly is affirmative action? The United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Immediately it became apparent that many business practices such as aptitude testing, or seniority status prevented equality in the work place. On September 24, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson issued an executive order at Howard University that required federal contractors to ensure that applicants are employed without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. Johnson then signed that order and enacted one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in the twentieth century.

Affirmative Action was created in an effort to help minorities overcome boundaries that were very present in this country when it was enacted. In 1965 the United States was in the wake of nation wide civil rights demonstrations and racial tension was at its peak. At this time white males that controlled all the hiring and firing held most executive, corporate, and managerial positions. The government thought these employers were discriminating against minorities and that it had to stop.

Affirmative action supporters often make one large assumption when defending their case. They assume that minorities want help. This may or may not always be the case but in my opinion most probably want equality not special treatment. To most the acceptance of special treatment is the acceptance of inferiority. Minorities are not inferior. With equal opportunities and fair labor practices they are just as capable to get a good job or education as any one else. We should be treating these minorities as equals not incompetents.

Affirmative action has many advantages and disadvantages. This being said it is vital that employers and managers realize the importance of affirmative action not only to create a more diverse workplace but also to keep their company out of serious trouble. The United States Government requires all federal contractors to have a plan that includes these steps:

1. Take action to make sure your selection pool is expansive.

2. Given the racial composition of the expanded pool, predict the results over time of your selecting nondiscriminatorily from it. Your prediction constitutes your affirmative action "goals." They give you a benchmark against which to compare actual outcomes.

3. At intervals, compare your actual selections with your "goals." If you are not meeting your goals, then reexamine your rules and procedures to see what is causing the problem. "1 Philosophy & Public Policy"

In doing this if your selections match your goals the government wont bother you, although if your selections fall short of your goals they "the government" will investigate. If the investigation shows that your company has made a good faith effort to follow its affirmative action plan the company will suffer no penalties. If discrimination is proven the company is obviously subject to huge fines and lawsuits.

Is affirmative action still needed today? In my humble opinion, yes although women and minorities have shown



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