Does My Company Need an Affirmative Action Plan?
Affirmative action is a set of laws, policies, guidelines and administrative practices intended to end and correct the effects of specific forms of discrimination in hiring.
Some employers assume that they need an affirmative action program in place to be in compliance with the Title VII requirements and state opportunity laws. In reality, while equal employment opportunity laws prohibit unlawful discrimination against applicants and employees because of their race, gender, age, disability or national origin, they usually do not require formal affirmative action programs.
There are three general instances where an affirmative action program is implemented: When doing business with the federal government, when required by a court as a remedy for discrimination, or as a voluntary remedy for past patterns of discrimination.
Government-Based Affirmative Action Guidelines
Eliminating discrimination in the workplace remains a high priority for the government. One of the ways the United States combats discrimination is through affirmative action plans. These plans encourage companies to actively seek out employees, vendors and contractors who belong to minority group. If you are doing business with the federal government you may be required to have an affirmative action plan if one of the following regulations pertains to you.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This section requires contractors with 50 or more employees and contracts over $50,000 to take affirmative action with regard to qualified individuals with disabilities.
The Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA)
Under VEVRAA, employers are asked to actively recruit and hire protected veterans. VEVRAA applies specifically to a certain category of employer: those who have federal contracts or subcontracts valued at $100,000 or more.
Executive Order 11246
EO 11246 requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin. If your company has 50 or more employees and have entered into at least one contract of $50,000 or more with the federal government you must prepare and maintain a written program.
What To Do If You Think You Need an Affirmative Action Policy
If you are uncertain if affirmative action laws apply to you, please contact your legal counsel or give us a call. Our team of experienced HR specialists can provide you general guidance on the applicability of the regulations to your business. Laws prohibit unlawful discrimination against applicants and employees, but that does not mean that all employers must adopt affirmative action programs. Seek our expert advice if you are uncertain