Discussion Question VII: The Need for Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and
We are about to begin our study of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative
Action and Diversity. DQ VII is directed to the historical, social and societal needs for
each of these laws and programs.
Equal Employment Opportunity Laws are a group of Federal Laws that define and
prohibit discrimination in all aspects of employment on the basis “sex, national
origin, race, religion, color, age, & disability”. Modern EEO laws initially began in the
1960’s (e.g. Equal Pay Act (1963); Civil Rights Act, (1964); Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (1967) etc.) and 1970’s, and have continued to be refined and
extended in a number of ways. EEO law prohibits discrimination in all aspects of
employment (e.g. recruiting; selection; job placement; training; compensation;
benefits; performance management; retirement; etc.) again on the basis of above
Affirmative Action is an Executive order of the President (beginning with Presidents
Johnson & Nixon, and continued by all subsequent Presidents to date). This
Executive Order applies to the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, and
Organizations that do business with (e.g. Defense contractors such as Boeing), or
accept Federal funds from the US Government (e.g. Purdue University). Affirmative
Action requires that organizations examine the utilization of women and minorities
throughout all occupations in the organization, and then set goals (not quotas) and
timetables for increased utilization of those groups over time.
Finally, Diversity programs are voluntary programs that many organizations adopt
in order to increase understanding and acceptance of our many individual
differences (including, but not limited to sex, race, etc.). When well designed and
executed, Diversity programs help people work together and perform more
effectively in the organization.
Why do we have EEO laws? Why do we have Affirmative Action (in employment)
programs? Using 1960 as the beginning of the modern Civil Rights in employment
era, use the web and other sources of information to find the most important
reasons why the US needed EEO and Affirmative Action programs.
1) What were the social and legal conditions in employment, voting, housing,
lending, education, etc. that necessitated these laws and programs?
2) What social and political unrest pressured the US government (Congress,
President, Federal Courts) to adopt and implement these laws?
3) What would the results have most likely been if EEO laws and Affirmative
Action Programs had not been developed and implemented?
There is a great deal that has been written on this subject. I do not expect people to
be exhaustive on this topic. Rather find the highlights and most significant reasons
for the dramatic changes that occurred. Two to three typed (double space 12 font)
should be sufficient. We will begin class next Thursday with discussion of what you
Notes and Options:
1) If you are not from the US, and are not especially interested in US History,
you may adapt this DQ to the existence of employment discrimination and
legal remedies in your native country. If you choose to do this, please note
your country clearly in the title. Just as with the issues in the US, I do not
expect you to be exhaustive, but rather provide an overview of the most
significant issues, and how your country has or is dealing with them.