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As a human resource manager, in the future, understanding and preparing to deal with affirmative action will be essential to organizational success. For many years, managers did not pay attention to the concept of equal opportunity employment, and all kinds of people were ignored or passed over for promotion or even general employment. As a result, many businesses became one dimensional, and eventually closed their doors because their organizations were unable to see the business world from various perspectives. Over the years though, ideas began to change as diversity has begun to seat itself into the very existence of many large organization. Understand that diversity is instrumental in their success, many organizations will continue to incorporate affirmative action into all facets of the hiring and promotion processes in the future. This paper will look at affirmative action, how it has affected business, the government, and society, and then offers suggestions to make affirmative action better in the future. Through developing a better understanding of affirmative action, it should help human resource managers make better business decisions in the future. History
During the Johnson administration, Affirmative Action was introduced in order to remedy years of discrimination. It was originally designed to improve the opportunities of minorities in the educational and business worlds. It helped open opportunities by mandating that minorities be given a fair and equal chance, regardless of color, race, religion, sex, or national origin. Backed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a subsequent executive order in 1965, the government began pushing Affirmative Action to federal agencies, contractors, and subcontractors. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it unlawful for employers covered by the Act to discriminate in the hiring, discharging, or treatment of an employee with respect to that person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” (Scott & Little, 1991, pg.2), and the government was determined to enforce the new policy. To ensure Affirmative Action programs were being used, any businesses receiving federal funds was required to immediately cease using any form of testing that would result unfavorably towards minorities. In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance would begin monitoring all government agencies and companies that were receiving federal funds to ensure they were in compliance; however, people still did not fully understand Affirmative Action. As the program details became more widely understood, discontent with the program began to crop up although “affirmative action programs had been approved numerous times by Americans acting through the democratic branches of government” (Fried, 1989). By the 1980’s reverse discrimination cases were being brought forward and many people grew unsettled with Affirmative Action. As a result, cases began to filter into various court systems because employers and agencies had established a quota system to ensure they were hiring enough minorities, ultimately creating reverse discrimination. The program limped into the late 1990’s, when states began to challenge the constitutionality of Affirmative Action programs and seeking alternate ways of making employment and education fair across the board. California led the way by passing proposition 209, which called for equal treatment in which race and sex did not play a part in the selection decision. After being challenged at the Supreme Court level, California’s proposition 209 was found to be constitutional, and the state forged a way ahead for the future. Shortly after California’s victory with proposition 209, other states began passing similar legislation. As the United States moved into the late 2000’s,...