Affirmative Action Presented By: Aldo Cantellano, Chris Handrahan, Elliot Lauber, Jon Lyga
Objectives of Presentation • To understand the definition of affirmative action, • The history of affirmative action, • Arguments for affirmative action, • Arguments against affirmative action, • A Famous Quotation often misinterpreted, • Federal & State Laws
Definition of Affirmative Action: • A policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment. Source: www.dictionary.com
Timeline of Affirmative Action Events • March 6th 1961 – Executive Order 10925 • John F. Kennedy issued the first executive order, which makes reference to affirmative action. • Created the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, which says that any projects financed with federal funds “take affirmative action” to ensure that hiring and employment actions are free from racial bias.
Timeline continued… • July 2nd 1964 – Civil Rights Act • Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. • Signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson
Timeline continued… • September 24th 1965 – Executive Order 11246 • Requires government contractors to consider perspective minority employees while hiring for jobs. • This order also requires documentation of these efforts. • On October 13th 1967, this order was amended to include gender discrimination.
Timeline continued… • June 28th 1978 – Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke • A Supreme Court decision that set a precedent that affirmative action should not lead to reverse discrimination. • A majority group will not be discriminated due to providing greater opportunities to minorities.
Timeline continued… • February 25th 1987 – United States vs. Paradise • A federal court found that the State of Alabama Department of Public Safety systematically discriminated against blacks in their hiring practices. • In 37 years, the department never hired a black trooper. • The court ruled: for every white hired or promoted, one black should also be hired or promoted until at least 25% of the upper ranks of the department were composed of blacks.
Timeline continued… • November 3rd 1997 – Proposition 209 (California) “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
Timeline continued… • December 13th 2000 – University of Michigan affirmative action policy upheld • In Gratz vs. Bollinger, a federal judge ruled using race as a factor in admissions was constitutional. • The University of Michigan’s argument was that by providing minorities with preferences, it enhanced the university’s diversity and student body.
Arguments For Affirmative Action • There has been discrimination in the past and affirmative action levels the “playing field” • Affirmative action would increase minority representation in the workforce
Pros for Affirmative Action cont… • Past discrimination has created an unequal society. Therefore, some minority classes have less income and fewer opportunities. Affirmative action would increase the number of opportunities available for minorities. • Discrimination still exists! Our society is not yet totally colorblind.
Pros of Affirmative Action cont… • Hiring different cultures would contribute to a diverse workforce • Example: Hiring a black police officer in a black neighborhood would be a great idea. Since the much of the population is black, a black officer would be able to easily relate to a black population. • Wouldn’t a black teen feel more comfortable talking to a black police officer? • A diverse University would help students better learn by exposing them to different cultures and views.
Arguments Against Affirmative Action • Opponents of affirmative action say that affirmative action and its preferences have become a “crippling crutch” • Some minorities may try to take advantage of their minority status. They may obtain a job, but not have the ability to do the job as well as a non-minority would because of affirmative action.
Cons of Affirmative Action cont… • There is often a “social stigma” attached to affirmative action. • Non-minorities may think a minority was hired just because the color of their skin or their gender. • Affirmative action leads to increased color consciousness and racial hostility between groups. • Affirmative action may create tension in the workplace and people may not be judged on merit.
Cons of Affirmative Action cont… • Affirmative action and its race and gender classifications can harm those they intended to help by stigmatizing them, destroying their self-confidence while leading everyone to believe they cannot compete on their own merit.
Cons of Affirmative Action cont… • The best, or most qualified person may not obtain a job, admission into a university, etc. because of affirmative action. • Therefore, someone may score higher on an ACT or SAT test, but still lose admission to a higher education school of their choice because of affirmative action policies.
Cons of Affirmative Action cont… • Some people argue that affirmative action may not be necessary because the trajectory of U.S. history shows that previously excluded persons are being increasingly included, so discrimination is not enough to require policies such as affirmative action, which have serious side effects.
What Do You Think? • Are there any arguments for or against affirmative action that you feel were left out? • Are there side effects to affirmative action policies? • If you have an argument for, or against, affirmative action please feel free to share your viewpoint.
An extremely famous quotation: • “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The King also states in some of his other speeches. • “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. The law cannot make an employer love an employee, but it can prevent him from refusing to hire me because of the color of my skin.”
King Quotes cont… • “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something for the Negro” • “Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask for nothing more. On the surface this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic.”
What Do you Think? • After reading these quotes how would you interpret Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech? • Does he oppose affirmative action? • Is affirmative action necessary? • What is your opinion?
Federal and State Laws and Policies • “Employment at Will” • “In Wisconsin, an employer may discharge an employee for good reason, no reason, or even a reason that is morally wrong, without committing a legal wrong.”
Federal and State Laws & Policies • “Employment at Will” • Applies when there is no collective bargaining agreement • No individual employee contract • No public policy exemption to the rule • Example: Does not break a law • No legal or discriminatory reason
1964 Civil Rights Act • Forbids discrimination in all acts of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. • The law states, “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to hire or discharge any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of an individuals race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” • Note: This federal law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
“Disparate treatment or “intentional”discrimination must be established by the employee. Employees have to prove several things -The employee has to be a member of a protected class. -The employee must demonstrate that he or she is qualified for the job. -They must also show job rejection, and that their employer continued to seek applications from others.
Age Discrimination (1967) • The Age Discrimination Employment Act promotes the retention of older employees on their ability, rather than their age. It begins at the age of 40. • For example: Someone cannot be forced into retirement because of old age or require an older employee to pass a physical exam that is not related to the job. • Note: This law only applies to organizations with 20 or more employees.
Exceptions to Age Discrimination • There can be many defenses to an age discrimination suit. There are mandatory retirement policies for police, prison guards, and firefighters. • Please note: • Seniority layoffs do not violate the law. • Voluntary early retirement programs are legal
Religion or “Creed Discrimination” • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states an employer must “reasonably accommodate” the religious practices of their employees unless this would create an “undue hardship.” • For example: It may be an “undue hardship” for a Bar, which is very busy on weekends, to hire someone who’s religion does not allow them to work on weekends.
Same Religion Exemption • It is not employment discrimination because of creed for a religious organization… to give preference to an applicant or employee who is a member of the same or similar religious denomination…” Example: Marquette University (Catholic) may give preference to hire teachers who are Catholic.
Some Defenses to Claims of Illegal Discrimination “Business Necessity” -A certain level of “experience” or skill may be necessary for some jobs. -“Education” achievement may be necessary for some jobs -If tests are given, they must relate to the job. Example: A janitor should not be required to pass a physics test as a condition of employment.
Defenses cont… • “Bona Fide Seniority” • A layoff based on seniority could be a legitimate defense. • Also when considering layoffs, recall, promotions, sick leave, and vacation time, “seniority” may be considered.
Defenses cont… • “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” • Certain genders may be better qualified for certain jobs. • Example: This defense would allow a movie producer to hire a male to play the part of the leading man in an upcoming movie. • Example: This defense would also allow a female topless bar to solicit applications from only females.
BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL! • Our group felt that we needed to provide information on state and federal laws regarding affirmative action. None of the members of our group are lawyers so we do not wish to be responsible for any information that may be incorrect. However, we feel the information we provided is accurate and will help you better understand some of the legal aspects associated with affirmative action policies.
In Conclusion • This presentation is not an argument for or against affirmative action. Our hope is to make you aware, as future managers and supervisors, the issues and legislations surrounding the issue. The best way to deal with a potential issue is to first be educated about it!