Main Functions of Affirmative Action

Affirmative action generates an environment where equal employment opportunity can grow. Additionally, affirmative action is also compensatory and helps to reform the effects of past discrimination. Affirmative action aims to achieve a positive effect in reducing discrimination and creates new opportunities for those who were historically discriminated against such as women, people with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, and those of elderly age. Affirmative action changes according to three important sectors. The sectors are education, government contracting, and employment.

According to the regulation of Executive Order 11246, the government requires authorities to check and estimate the total scope of its officials, who specialize in identification and correction of any obstacles to equal employment opportunity. In the United States, an executive order is an instruction issued by the President of the United States that conducts operations of the federal government and has the force of law. As soon as obstacles occur such as discrimination or violation of equal employment opportunity, the contractor or the specific authority is required to create a program that is accurately adjusted to correct these obstacles. The contrasting relationship between affirmative action and discrimination is shown in the Executive Order itself, which starts with a direct opposition to discrimination.

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On October 1977, affirmative action was specified in the U.S. in the Commission on Civil rights as “any measure, beyond simple termination of a discriminatory practice, adopted to correct or compensate for past or present discrimination or to prevent discrimination from recurring in the future.” The reason that affirmative action was created is because the government in the U.S.A tried to decrease the discrimination that occurred in the states. The discrimination occurred for a long period of time. The affirmative action policies included several actions that help minority groups. The actions contained policies, programs, and procedures that can provide minority groups better and equal opportunity to get jobs, admission to institutions of higher education, awarding of government contracts, and other social benefits. The first president that was thinking about the term affirmative action was president John F. Kennedy (J.F.K.) in 1961.

Following J.F. K’s assassination, the president Lyndon Baines Johnson established affirmative action from the years 1963 to 1969. The reason he stood behind affirmative action was because of the severe discrimination towards African Americans. According to this discrimination, the federal government started to launch policies under the premise of civil rights. In 1965, the President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed Executive Order 11246. According to new Executive Order, the Secretary of Labor held responsibility for administration and enforcement requirements for contractors to immediately stop discrimination in the workplace against any employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Contractors needed to follow affirmative action to ensure discriminations did not occur in the workforce.

Discrimination can be exercised through employment, promotions, demotions, transfer, recruitment, recruitment advertising, layoff, termination, rates of pay, other forms of compensation, and selection for training such as apprenticeships. Additionally, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance generated a program that needed to compensate the years of discrimination that occurred in the construction industry. The affirmative action programs designed to help minority groups by increasing hiring results in federally financed construction jobs.

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