Equal Opportunity in the Workplace - Define affirmative action as it applies to the current workplace environment. What are the various ways organizations can support and develop equal opportunity?

Essay by jesika369University, Master'sA+, February 2004

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America's founding fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal." However, in 1789 a ratification to the Constitution stated a slave as "three-fifths" of a free man, making the distinction to ensure a slave could not become a member of Congress. It was not until 1861 that this distinction was made illegal, making a slave a free man through the Emancipation Proclamation. After this, it took another fifty-nine years for a 1920 amendment to the Constitution to eliminate the distinction that voters be only male. It seems America was taking its first steps to ensure that all men were not only created equal, but treated equally.

Considering the fact that America is a nation of immigrants from numerous races and backgrounds, the above events had tremendous impacts on America. Their importance lies in America moving from the land of opportunity to the land of equal opportunity for all.

These first efforts are based on the idea that certain types of discrimination should be illegal. Discrimination is defined as the making of distinctions among people. Distinctions are made among people in the workplace every day when choices are made as to whom should be hired, receive a raise, or be promoted. However, discrimination becomes illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when these distinctions are based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, America enforces the Civil Rights Act and numerous other equal opportunity (EEO) laws with the goal of fair employment in mind, a situation in which employment decisions are not affected by illegal discrimination.

In achieving fair employment in America, two competing strategies exist. Many EEO laws and legislation prohibit employers from making decisions about employees based on race, sex, or age. The first strategy to achieve fair...