Affirmative Action, what is it? What does it mean? Affirmative action began as a corrective measure for governmental and social injustices against demographic groups that have been said to be subjected to discrimination in areas such as employment and education. The stated goal of affirmative action is to counteract past and present discrimination sufficiently that the power elite will reflect the demographics of society at large, at which point such a strategy will no longer be necessary.
Some groups who are targeted for affirmative action are characterized by race, gender, ethnicity, or disability status. When members of targeted groups are actively sought or preferred, the reason given is usually that this is necessary to compensate for advantages that other groups are said to have had. (Wikipedia, 2008) One of the goals of affirmative action is to bring more women and minorities into the workforce.
Affirmative action does not apply to all employers, only about 20 percent of the workforce.
Generally, affirmative action applies to those companies with 50 or more employees that have contracts with the federal government to provide the government with goods or services valued at $50,000 or more. As a part of that contract, the government requires the employer to agree not to discriminate in the workplace and further, to engage in affirmative action of it is found to be needed. Contracts are completely voluntary agreements that we can choose to enter or not. (Bennet-Alaxander-Hartman, ch 4) Basically the US government has decided that it does not want to contract with businesses that discriminate against employees in violation of Title VII.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program, which is part of the U.S. Department of labor, may enforce affirmative action on employers. If an employer is found to have an under representation of women and minorities...