Affirmative action includes programs and policies that companies and authorities design for the active promotion of equal opportunity in the workplace. Apart from that, they also take the responsibility to educate people regardless of their race, religion, place of birth, gender, sexual orientation, and more. Laws related to affirmative action came into being after the 1960s.
In this article, you will find out what is affirmative action and how it affects the workplace environment in business. Next up, we will discuss the importance of affirmative action in business. Finally, we will recommend some ways through which a business can implement affirmative action. Hence, to learn more about this matter, read on through to the end of the article.
What Is Affirmative Action?
According to Small Business Chron,
“Affirmative action aims to right historic wrongs by favoring defined groups of individuals that were discriminated against in the past. For instance, a company might post jobs in areas with high numbers of minority job seekers to reach these under-represented candidates. Several companies have implemented affirmative action policies as part of their business models.”
The goal of affirmative action is to promote opportunities for members of historically disadvantaged groups. However, in some cases, many businesses shy away from implementing affirmative action. This is because it is a controversial practice, as many commentators claim that this is just discrimination in reverse order.
This is done to level the playing field of people coming from backward sections of society, especially in areas related to business, employment, and education. This law came into effect after an order from President Kennedy in 1961 on equal employment opportunity. The principle behind this is to promote social equality by preferential treatment of backward groups in society.
How Does Affirmative Action Impact A Workplace Environment?
According to INC.com,
“Affirmative action affects small businesses in two main ways. First, it prevents businesses with 15 or more employees from discriminating…Second, it allows the state and federal governments to favor women-owned and minority-owned businesses when awarding contracts.”
Businesses that have contracts with the federal government of the United States must compulsorily implement affirmative action. On the other hand, other companies and employers have a choice of implementing the program.
The steps are there to provide preferential treatment to a few groups within the organization so that it creates a level playing field for all groups coming from all sections of society. The goal here is that there is no hiring or employment discrimination on the basis of color, race, gender, ethnicity, and more.
Why Should Businesses Adopt Affirmative Action? – Let’s Find Out
Chron.com states the reason behind the necessity of affirmative action in business organizations –
“The main reason is to add transparency to the hiring and promotions process. When there’s no affirmative action policy in place, then rejected applicants have no idea why they were rejected or what hiring managers were saying behind closed doors.”
The rejected candidate might have some shortage of skills, but the company might have been equally discriminating against members coming from a certain group. The laws are in place to provide protection to these employees in a business.
Therefore, there are many companies that adopt affirmative action to ensure that there is greater diversity in the workplace. The methods of implementation might vary, but the company needs to take a series of actions and design policies in such a way as to ensure that there is equal opportunity when it comes to employment.
However, unless a court of law orders a company to implement an affirmative action plan, then it is a voluntary choice for the business to implement the plan. Despite that, many private companies still do not implement the plan due to the controversial nature of affirmative action unless ordered by the court.
Furthermore, in implementing affirmative action, the business has to deal with complex policies as well. Moreover, the business also needs the guidance of a lawyer, who will ensure that the business does not make mistakes while implementing anti-discrimination federal laws.
How To Implement An Affirmative Action Plan In Business?
According to Investopedia,
“The premise of affirmative action programs is that, in the absence of discrimination, the employee profile breakdown at a company would accurately reflect the broader labor pools available to it. A written affirmative action plan (AAP) is a management tool that employs various means to analyze and achieve this.”
The following are the steps that businesses can take to implement affirmative action plans for businesses:
1. In the plan, there must be proof regarding past discrimination within the company. They can show factual evidence of a case, along with statistical data.
2. The plan must be implemented in such a way that it does not take away the rights of the incumbent workers of the organization.
3. The affirmative action plan must be implemented in such a way that it stays for a limited amount of time. It should only last as long as it takes to correct past discrimination that happened in the company.
It cannot be denied that there is a certain amount of risk present with these types of policies, as they can create condescension for the beneficiaries of the law.
The beneficiaries can often get accused of getting ahead in the organization because of their gender, ethnicity, etc., instead of their performance or qualifications. This is a type of stigma that the beneficiary might have to go through. However, one must know that these are difficult to overcome.
I hope this article was helpful for you to find out what is affirmative action. You have learned that affirmative action is a policy that businesses can implement to promote equal opportunity in the workplace.
This helps in creating a level playing field for all groups in society so as to correct historical discrimination against these groups. Do you have any recommendations regarding a way in which a business can implement affirmative action within the organization? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.
A passionate writer and an avid reader, Soumava is academically inclined and loves writing on topics requiring deep research. Having 3+ years of experience, Soumava also loves writing blogs in other domains, including digital marketing, business, technology, travel, and sports.