Equal Opportunity Employment – Affirmative Action

Equal opportunity employment is very much a legal topic, but it also deals with emotional issues as well. It concerns all individuals, regardless of their sex, race, religion, age, national origin, color, physical

condition, or position in an organization. Management of all organizations needs to be aware of their personal biases and how their attitude can affect their work with their subordinates. It needs to be emphasized that both covert and intentional discrimination in employment is illegal. When supervisors ignore the legal dealings of human resource management, they risk costly and time-consuming litigation, negative public attitudes, and damage to their individual careers.

Affirmative action allows us to correct discrimination practices that have occurred in the past, by actively recruiting minority-group members, and the importance of supporting diversity as a proactive business goal. Affirmative action is a primary legal tool to promote minorities who have been historically discriminated against and there is a lot of evidence that minorities have been brought into the mainstream and accepted. Then managers embrace a diverse team of employees, they acknowledge that employees have individual differences, and people with varied abilities can make contributions. Affirmative action programs are necessary to prevent people from being denied access due to their race, and it also helps to provide equality in the work place. They benefit our entire society because increasing wealth for underrepresented groups increases wealth for all.

It has been said that acquiring more women and minorities into big businesses should be done. In the 1960’s businesses would higher white males as management while excluding women and minorities, even if the women and minorities had more competence for the job. Organizations have evolved since then and more women and minorities do hold management positions, a lot of this change is due to affirmative action. If organizations were to put an equal amount of men, women, and minorities, into decision-making positions, the outcome could have a larger variety of ideas that could lead to bigger profits.

However, I do not think women or minorities alone have an “advantage” over men in creating greater profits. Nor do I believe that men alone would create more profits than women or minorities, either. Excluding women and minorities from the workplace ignores the talents of more than half the populations. I think if people truly saw each other as equals and they would just stop believing that one gender or race is better than another gender or race, than great outcomes could occur. I believe this would be the optimum way to evolve. Organizations could evolve into businesses full of employees that work together to bring more profitable and creative ideas to the work place, if only they truly believed in equal opportunities for everyone.

The policies of affirmative action will result in increases in the representation of women and minorities across all levels of employment in the United States and within organizations that were once exclusively male. This has led to higher employment participation rates, increased earnings, and gains in education attainment for women and minorities. Implementing affirmative action encourages initiative and the use of non-traditional means that will identify and place those individuals who have the qualifications to succeed. Affirmative action does not displace other qualified individuals. It simply recognizes that diversity is an asset to any group trying to fulfill a function, as long as each person has the qualifications or abilities to do so.

Affirmative action can be successfully established by setting up unambiguous, explicit, and focused qualification criteria to be used in selection and promotion decisions. The requisite criteria should be communicated clearly, and relevant audiences should perceive the selection procedure as fair. The recipient’s contributions to the organization, as well as his or her specific competencies should be emphasized, and the conditions under which employees, including affirmative action recipients, must cooperate to meet organizational goals need to be established. Affirmative action is one of the most effective ways to address the long-standing problems of racism and sexism within organizations in our country. It serves as a pathway for reaching the American goal of equality.

Affirmative action will level the playing field when employing people in organizations. It allows organizations to advertise jobs to a broader audience and makes the application process not only accessible to white American men, but also to women and minorities too. However, it does not mean that organizations should select a minority over a more qualified non-minority individual. It allows everyone to begin at the starting line together, and then the individuals that are most qualified for the positions will end up employed. There will be no disregarding somebody due to their sex, race, religion, age, national origin, color, physical condition, or position in an organization.

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