AA to Workforce Diversification Programs
When it comes to Affirmative Action (AA) plans, many of them are outdated and are actually detrimental to the workforce in some ways. They keep some of the best people out of the jobs that they are well-suited for because they do not belong to a protected class, making reverse discrimination a real possibility in some industries. Workforce diversification programs would be a better idea for most companies than AA is, but there has to be a way to continue to ensure that there are no discriminatory acts taking place. When it comes to AA, it is understandable why it was originally put into place. People who were not white and male were treated as something of second class citizens when they applied for jobs in the past. In other words, most employers overlooked minorities and women, and they did it deliberately because they did not think that these people were as good at working as white males were.
There was no law against this originally, so there was nothing that women or minorities could do in order to secure these jobs, and if a person was a minority and a woman, getting a job of any quality could be almost impossible. With the Civil Rights Act and other laws, people were more able to establish some job security. Even when these laws were passed, however, not everyone complied with them. Instead, they simply found other ways to get around the new requirements. There were government guidelines on how much a woman was required to lift in her job. If there was a job that required heavier lifting, or if the employer said that it required heavier lifting, then he did not have to hire any women. Very few of these employers were ever actually studied by those who were charged with enforcing these laws, so many companies got away with avoiding hiring anyone that they really did not want to employ.
Another way that employers got around the requirements of the law was to provide testing that was required in order to get the job. If an employer could prove that the testing was required (i.e. aptitude is needed for a certain skill that will have to be done on the job), that employer can avoid hiring anyone who does not pass the test. If these tests are tailored properly they can weed out most of the minority candidates. This does not mean that these candidates are not that intelligent, but only that they often have not had the benefit of an education that was as good as their white counterparts, especially in disadvantaged areas of the country and many inner city neighborhoods.
Some of this is changing now, however, and there is no longer as much of a disparity between men and women or between Caucasians and minorities as there used to be. Employers are not as biased overall, and they understand that women and minorities can bring valuable and important skills to the workplace. There would certainly be some people who went back to the older days of segregation…