Affirmative Action in Today’s Federal HRM Free Essay Example (2023)

The history of employee management across the globe is characterized by cases of mistreatment towards particular people either because of their color, education, origin, religion or creed. Overcoming this challenge has inspired several redresses including push through affirmative actions. Affirmative action as outlawed in countries like the UK assumes several names like reservation, positive action and employment equity depending on the country but it agitates for the same privileges under its different shapes and form. Affirmative action emerged as a way of dealing with equity regarding job opportunities, education, and other factors between in societies. The following study reviews affirmative action in the light of work opportunities, cases of discrimination within and outside the US government, and the relevance of the policy in today’s federal human resource management.

History of Affirmative Action

United States’ history has been marred by several cases of human right violation including slave trade that led to the civil war in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The past bares its share of human injustices and struggles towards quenching the thirst for equitable treatment for all and by all. Although exercised blindly ion the past, the year 1961 was a turning point in the history of America following the executive order by President John F. Kennedy on affirmative action ( Condrey, 2010 ). The order required federal contractors to take affirmative actions to ensure equity. This move was later to affect other departments and branches of labor in the US. Affirmative action was later strengthened by a series of executive orders and acts in the succeeding years and by various presidents, enduring court sessions and votes (AAAED). Looking back at the past critically, we can see the advantages and battles won by Affirmative action in favor of the discriminated and in promoting social justice even for the disabled.

Affirmative Action Today

(Video) HR Basics: Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is a present reality that the society has to accept and affirm. CNN’s (2018) confirms that affirmative action is necessary today in a highly educated society and in the presence of well-established legislative structures to deal with discrimination embellishing the courts with several court hearings. Continuation of discriminatory criteria is not only a mockery of the constitution of the United States but also to its structures and the presidency. The post provides an in-depth analysis of affirmative action cases spanning from 1954 to 2016. In the case of 2016, the US Supreme Court upheld affirmative action by a vote of four to three which further augments the necessity of affirmative action.

The world at large is not yet free from acts of discrimination. Kliff (2018) provides wage disparities between men and women in various countries that are significant in concluding. The publication shows that in the United States women earn 79% of what male counterparts earn, while in Japan the figure stands at 73 % and in Denmark with praised fair standards the gap is wide with a glaring 15% margin. This shows the fact that there is a difference in treatment of both men and women in the public sector not only in America but other countries as well. This statistics helps to illustrate a case of discrimination in the public employment sector between genders where men earn higher than women even with the same qualifications. However, it raises a question on whether the disparity is true or imagined A research conducted by Kelvin on women wages after birth indicates that women’s salary decreases after first childbirth while that of men remains constant after birth (Kliff, 2018). It is not logical considering that both have become parents. This overwhelming variation is presented in the graph below obtained from Vox website.

The research also presents a graph indicating the difference in salaries between women with child and those women without as presented below.

Research by Kerr (Miller, 2017) establishes that payment for American mothers falls as compared to their male counterparts with women making 90% as male counterparts at 25 years and 55% at 45 years (Miller, 2017). The reason given for this is that mothers may choose to stay at home and rely on their husbands earning while men do the working (Miller, 2017). It can only be fair if women with children received salary increment based on their added responsibility and difficulties in meeting their needs.

A UK government report published in March 2017 projected the possibility of an economic boost in values worth $29 billion if the talents of the discriminated lot like blacks, and other minority groups were fully exploited (Gray, 2017). The government was losing much real money particularly because it had failed, handled with prejudice, or weekly campaigned for affirmative actions in all progressive sectors. This and other numerous cases going on around the world known or unknown to the world only serves to vindicate and fully establish beyond possible doubts that affirmative action should be pursued, natured, that affirmative action is a do or die catalyst to equity for all and development in the US.

(Video) How the Supreme Court’s Decision on Affirmative Action Could Affect College Admissions

As a remedy, personnel system models and evaluation models should be employed in determining promotions, remunerations and other privileges within the labor sector. These models should be fully exploited and incorporated as the right-hand help to empower affirmative actions both here and abroad. Such models include strategic ranking, grading, and checklist, paired comparison, 360-degree feedback, trait-focused, and behavior focused model among others. These models help the employer to conduct a fair way of salary increment and promotions ( Norman-Major & Gooden, 2014 ). By conduction of constant training and feedback analysis method, incorporated with fair evaluation models, can help both the employee and employer to advance in their welfares ( Norman-Major & Gooden, 2014 ).

Affirmative action cannot stand on its own however strong it may be; it is significant to recognize the role played by state, local, and federal statutes and codes on public employers and employees; in enhancing and extending affirmative actions. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Fair Labor Standard Act are some of the acts regulating the master-servant tenure system in the USA ( Mathis et al., 2016 ).

The constitution enshrines the rights of the employee and the roles of the employer towards the employee to ensure equity, freedom to form or join unions, human terms, and conditions of employment and employee privacy ( Condrey, 2010 ). These provisions are most dear to the employee as they will directly affect their performance and help them protect their interests. The employer is under obligation by the constitution to provide for circumstances favoring the development of these elements to their complete fulfillment and protection of the same rights with equity. It is a shame that employers who enjoy their rights as defined in the constitution go-ahead to undermine those of their employees enshrined in the same constitution. This is nothing but a trampling upon our constitution.

While the employee is often exposed to discrimination, the employer also may suffer bouts of underserviced from the employee: Particularly persons who want to make an advantage of their situation or condition in life. Therefore, established codes and statutes help to protect both the employee and the employer. Far from abolishing master-servant relationship, labor laws are established to define and ensure a mutual relationship between the two sides ( Mathis et al., 2016 ). The employer should determine the qualification criteria within the law for each job vacancy and require of their servant a due service regarding job description and reporting hours. This privilege ensures that the business thrives and that the employer can make profits ( Mathis et al., 2016 ). Affirmative action needs the state laws and other legal provisions at different levels to emancipate those persons that are discriminated. As such, these laws have a great impact in instilling restraint upon those who would make an advantage of or discriminate against others ( Condrey, 2010 ) . Further, the laws help in regulating employee to employee interactions, enhancing ethical working environments for all.


(Video) Is Affirmative Action Unfair to Asian Americans?

The society is filled with woes of employees who are exploited for various reasons by their employers, and the trend is worldwide. These employees may be facing poor working conditions, poor payment plan, ill promotion strategies and other deplorable working conditions. Discrimination is also witnessed in other quotas of development like education, sports, and other sectors. Such discriminations, notwithstanding, their magnitude and extent, create feelings of deeply rooted animosity, and revenge that split the world undermining its progress and security. Therefore, affirmative action is a present reality, a tool to be employed to emancipate fellow men of color, creed, sex or distinction, and help solve such disparities created by those who are ambitious to exploit others.


AAAED, “ More History of Affirmative Action Policies from the 1960s”. Retrieved From

CNN (2018). “Affirmative Action Fast Facts.” Retrieved Apr. 25 2018 from

Condrey, S. E. (2010). Handbook of human resource management in government. John Wiley & Sons

(Video) Affirmative Action in College Admissions and Employment

Gray, A. (2017). Racial discrimination in the workplace is hurting people and economies. Here’s what we can do about it”. WeForum. Retrieved Apr. 25 2018 from

Kliff, S. (2018). A stunning chart shows the true cause of the gender wage gap. Vox . Retrieved Apr. 25 2018 from

Mathis, R. L. et al. (2016). Human Resource Management . New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Miller, C.C. (2017). “The gender pay gap is largely because of motherhood.” The New York Times. Retrieved Apr. 25 2018 from

Norman-Major, K. A. & Gooden, S. T. (2014). Cultural competency for public administrators. Routledge.

(Video) Affirmative Action


What is affirmative action in human resource management? ›

Affirmative Action is a program of positive action, undertaken with conviction and effort to overcome the present effects of past practices, policies, or barriers to equal employment opportunity and to achieve the full and fair participation of women, minorities and individuals with disabilities found to be ...

What is the impact of affirmative action on society today? ›

Affirmative action reduces discrimination in educational and employment settings. Affirmative action programs and policies have played a critical role in diversifying higher education. College admissions practices that consider applicant race are on this year's Supreme Court docket.

What are affirmative action examples? ›

Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps. These procedures should be incorporated into the company's written personnel policies.

What does affirmative action do today? ›

Q: What is affirmative action, or race conscious admissions policies? A: Race conscious policies, such as affirmative action, aim to address racial discrimination by recognizing and responding to the structural barriers that have denied underrepresented students access to higher education.

How is affirmative action used in the workplace? ›

The purpose of affirmative action is to ensure equal employment opportunities for applicants and employees. It is based on the premise that, absent discrimination, over time a contractor's workforce generally will reflect the demographics of the qualified available workforce in the relevant job market.

What is affirmative action and why is it important? ›

Affirmative action helps ensure equal access to opportunities and brings our nation closer to the ideal of giving everyone a fair chance.

What are the positive effects of affirmative action? ›

Advantages. An obvious benefit of affirmative action is the opportunities they provide to people who otherwise might not have them. These opportunities include access to education for students who may be disadvantaged and career advancement for employees who may be blocked from rising up the corporate ladder.

What are potential positives and negatives of affirmative action policies? ›

Many companies now employ affirmative action policies as part of their business models, but there are still some pros and cons to this practice.
  • Advantage: Diverse Workplace. ...
  • Disadvantage: Creates a Stigma. ...
  • Advantage: Attracts New Customer Base. ...
  • Disadvantage: Perception of Reverse Discrimination.

What are the factors of affirmative action? ›

Affirmative action in the United States is the active effort to improve employment, educational, and other opportunities for members of groups that have been subjected to discrimination. Criteria for affirmative action include race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, and age.

What are the two kinds of affirmative action? ›

Two types of affirmative action plans are required — the AAP for Minorities and Females, which consists of statistical and narrative sections, and the AAP for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities, which consists of a narrative section only.

What is the difference between affirmative action and positive discrimination? ›

By law, positive action is permissible, whereas positive discrimination is unlawful. It is therefore important to understand the difference between positive discrimination and positive action when looking to diversify your workforce.

What are the basic elements of an affirmative action plan? ›

An affirmative action plan or program under this section shall contain three elements: a reasonable self analysis; a reasonable basis for concluding action is appropriate; and reasonable action.

What is affirmative action in government? ›

Affirmative action in the United States is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices "intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination" that include government-mandated, government-approved, and voluntary private programs.

Is affirmative action a federal law? ›

1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson issued E.O. 11246, requiring all government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to expand job opportunities for minorities. Established the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCC) in the Department of Labor to administer the order.

Is affirmative action necessary in today's society? ›

As a conceptual framework, affirmative action remains relevant for a national racial justice agenda. Its surviving policies are critical for dismantling institutional practices that limit opportunities for highly qualified African Americans and other marginalized racial minorities. John F.

Does affirmative action apply to all employers? ›

Businesses that contract with the federal government are required to have affirmative action programs, while other employers can implement them voluntarily. Employers must be aware of these laws and similar rules aimed at equal opportunity and fairness.

What was the original goal of affirmative action? ›

In the U.S. affirmative action's original purpose was to pressure institutions into compliance with the nondiscrimination mandate of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Acts do not cover discrimination based on veteran status, disabilities, or age that is 40 years and older.

What are the disadvantages of affirmative action programs? ›

Some argue that affirmative action may disadvantage white employees. It may not be fair for white people to gain from programs that are supposed to benefit racial minorities. Some have also argued that affirmative action discriminates against white people who are not part of the targeted group.

What is affirmative and negative examples? ›

An AFFIRMATIVE SENTENCE states a fact or situation that is—it affirms the information.
Examples of Affirmative and Negative Sentences.
We read a lot.We do not/don't read a lot.
Xochitl writes well.Xochitl does not/doesn't write well.
The train arrived.The train did not/didn't arrive.

What has the Supreme Court said about affirmative action? ›

The court has repeatedly upheld affirmative action programs at colleges and universities, most recently in 2016, saying that educational diversity is a compelling interest that justifies taking account of race as one factor among many in admissions decisions.

What is the opposite of affirmative action? ›

Opponents of Affirmative action in the United States use the term reverse discrimination to say that such programs discriminate against White Americans in favor of African Americans.

When did affirmative action start? ›

Executive Order 11246

On September 24, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts.

Who created affirmative action? ›

Eisenhower built on Roosevelt's work with the 1953 Executive Order 10479, which created the anti-discrimination Government Contract Committee. But John F. Kennedy was the first president to marry the term “affirmative action” with its modern-day connotation of a policy seeking to ensure racial equality.

Why is it important to prevent discrimination? ›

It is important to prevent discrimination happening to anyone. This is because it helps protects their rights and wellbeing since everyone deserves to access the same rights and have the same opportunities in life.

Are affirmative action plans effective? ›

Affirmative action programs are one of the most effective ways to promote diversity and comply with equal opportunity laws.

What are the federal agencies responsible for enforcement of affirmative action? ›

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national ...

What is the main purpose of affirmative action policies quizlet? ›

The purpose of affirmative action programs is to compensate for past discrimination, which was widespread when legislation was introduced in the 1960s to prevent ongoing discrimination and to provide equal opportunities to all regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Is affirmative action still in place in the US? ›

In many states, some percentage of public and private universities use affirmative action in admissions. But eight states — Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington — currently ban public universities from considering the race of their applicants.

What is affirmative action in diversity? ›

Affirmative action therefore means taking positive steps to end discrimination, to prevent its recurrence, and to create new opportunities that were previously denied minorities and women.

What are the three elements of an affirmative action plan? ›

An affirmative action plan or pro- gram under this section shall contain three elements: a reasonable self anal- ysis; a reasonable basis for concluding action is appropriate; and reasonable action.


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