Affermative action misc10



Considering the subject of affirmative action the following questions frequently are raised: Is there a clear understanding of affirmative action roles/goals? What are the pros/cons of these programs? What are the "loop holes" in the system? Does seniority play a role in affirmative action? Addressing these key questions may help us all in our daily routine, as administrators and/or potential administrator in the public/private sector. Affirmative action programs throughout the United States have long been a controversial issue particularly concerning employment practices (public/private) and university student and/or staff recruitment. Most public agencies have some type of instituted affirmative action program. According to Cheryl Perry-League, Director of Equal Opportunity of the Port of Oakland, every business operating on Port of Oakland owned land must have a standing affirmative action program on record and businesses bidding to do work for the Port of Oakland must have an acceptably diverse workforce. BACKGROUND To understand the role and/or goals of affirmative actions programs we should define what the broad definition of what affirmative action is and what caused its development. The phase "affirmative action" was used in a racial discrimination context. Executive Order No. 10,925 issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The order indicated that federal contractors should take affirmative action to ensure job applicants and employees are treated "without regard to their race, creed, or national origin." A person could define this statement as an order to imply equal access and nothing else. Subsequently, Executive Order 11246 issued by President Johnson in September 1965, "mandated affirmative action goals for all federally funded programs and moved monitoring and enforcement of affirmative action programs out of the White House and into the Labor Department." Affirmative action "refers to various efforts to deliberately take race, sex, and national origins into account to remedy past and current effects of discrimination. Its primary goal is to ensure that women and minorities are widely represented in all occupations and at all organizational levels" (Tompkins, 1995, p.161). Another definition of affirmative action according to Barbara Bergmann is "planning and acting to end the absence of certain kinds of people-those who belong to groups that have been subordinated or left out-from certain jobs and schools" (1997 p.7). Tracing the history of affirmative action, laws against racial discrimination have proved inadequate for workplace integration because they often provide remedies only after the fact. Affirmative action requires proactive steps to provide equal opportunities in employment as well as access to education. Many affirmative action programs were born from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII references to affirmative action programs were brought about "because of the history of discrimination in the United States, certain groups are viewed as disadvantage in the current marketplace. Thus affirmative action laws impose temporary requirements to correct underutilization of these groups (e.g., goals and timetables for increasing the number of minorities and women in a facility)" (Gutman, 1993, p.9). Prior to these laws and the Title VII law, the U.S workforce was primarily dominated by white males. Although, still somewhat white male dominated, quotas that were designed through affirmative action programs have helped achieve some representation of women and minorities in the current work force. Some remedies brought about through affirmative action programs include goal setting, quotas, and timetables. GOALS AND QUOTAS The term goal "refers to specific outcomes which, when achieved, will result in equal employment opportunity and equitable representation" (Hall & Albrecht, 1979, p.47-78). Goals and hiring quotas vary somewhat in their function. Goals generally are long range plans that organizations use and there are no expected minimum or maximum limitations. Quotas by comparison, "establishes a definite number of people who must be hired. A Company cannot by law, use quotas unless it has been ordered to do so by a court to remedy a past action" (Hall & Albrecht, 1979, p.47-78). Deficiency correction is the primary target of goal setting through affirmative action. For an organization to be effective with goals, they must be realistic, attainable, and monitored by the human resource department. Affirmative action programs generally achieve their set goals through several common practices called outreach programs. First, there are special recruiting programs where women and minorities will most likely be found. These special outreach programs often target black