Affirmative action refers to employers’ efforts to rectify the results of past discrimination. Affirmative action programs are written systematic plans that outline goals for hiring, training, promoting, and compensating groups protected by federal EEO laws, fair employment practices, and executive orders. They exist for several reasons, From a piratical standpoint, employers seldom benefit from excluding people who belong to a particular group. Excluding an entire class of workers, such as women or minorities, limits the labor pool rom which an employer can draw. And with the growing diversity of the workforce, the majority of applicants will soon come from protected “classes? Open discrimination can also lead to negative public relations, boycotts by consumers, and government intervention. To ensure that such discrimination does not occur, employers may develop affirmative action programs voluntarily.
Voluntary compliance is also a practical way to correct past discrimination and avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles. As United Steelworkers of America and Kaiser A Aluminum & Chemical Corporation v, Illustrious tarted, voluntary affirmative action programs are a legal way to remedy past Discrimination. Moreover, the ruling in the Weber case suggests that voluntary plans may constitute a defense against “reverse discrimination” suits when they are-based on self-analyses that identify and seek to rectify racial imbalances.Sometimes compliance is the best course even when a company thinks its past actions were legal because time in litigation, legal costs, and adverse publicity can be minimized. At other times compliance results from a consent decree, which is a legally binding, judicially sanctioned agreement to undertake specific actions. AT&T’s massive affirmative action plan began with the consent decree it signed with the EEOC, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor,”
AT&T was in a delicate position. As the largest private em yore in the United States at the time of the suit, it mane an attractive target for the government. The EEOC’s victory put large and small employers on notice that the government was serious about enforcement. AT&T recognized that its ability to get rate increases on long-distance calls might have been delayed for years if it had fought the EEOC all the way through court appeals. Since e\’ery employer with fifteen or more employees is covered under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, virtually all companies . should have some form f affirmative action program. EEOC compliance j.., usually the responsibility of the HR department, which develops a plan to achieve the organization’s affirmative -e act” n goals in the least disruptive manner.