One of the major pieces of civil right legislation in the United States was the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment that sought to abolish slavery across the country. The legislation was among the initial enactments that aimed at correcting racial injustices that had plagued the country for a long time as it had been designed to bring to an end the racism. However, although the amendment did help bring an end to slavery, it did not solve the new problem of assimilating newly freed slaves into a white society and the racism that they still faced. As such, a new bill, the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, by Congress was proposed 1864 that aimed to assist the newly freed slaves (Brody Jr., 2015).
The new bill garnered as much support as it did opposition. Proponents of the bill supported it arguing that it was necessary to provide African American equal benefits to assist them in transitioning from slavery as well as allowing them to be self-sufficient members of the society. consequently, these benefits would also atone for the past injustices against the freed slaves. On the other hand, opponents of the bill argued that such race-specific benefits were not logical as they would only benefit African American while discriminating impoverished white citizens, thus considered the bill unfair. Rather they proposed that a bill to provide equal opportunities should apply to all citizens regardless of the race. Needless to say, due to these oppositions, the bill did not pass (Brody Jr., 2015).
Another amendment to the constitution was enacted in order to guarantee the constitutionality of the race-conscious strategies that were present in a newly passed and amended Freedmens Bureau Acts. However, these measures still faced challenges in their enactment. it was until the great depression that the first laws meant to provide equal employment opportunities were implemented. Due to massive unemployment, new employment laws required that employers to not discriminate in their employment practices. The new laws sought to address the discrimination of African Americans and other minorities and were specifically designed to provide them with equal employment opportunities while encouraging employers to be inclusive in providing employment (Brody Jr., 2015).
The initial laws on the equality of employment opportunities paved the way for better and more efficient equal employment policies and affirmative action legislation. In 1961, President Kennedy introduced issued an executive order to create the equal employment opportunity committee that mandated government contractor to take affirmative action and not discriminate anyone on the basis of race, national origin, color, or religion. An amendment to Kennedys law was passed later by President Johnson that included sex on the list of characteristics that should not be discriminated thus mandating for equal employment opportunity for women. Over the years, equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws have evolved further to protects discrimination on the basis of genetic information, gender identity, age, disability, pregnancy, and sexual orientation (American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, 2015).
Presently, the purpose of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action legislations and policies is to ensure that there is fair access to employment opportunities for everyone so as to create a labor force that is a true depiction of the demographics of the available qualified people in the appropriate job market. these laws and policies ensure that extra effort is made in the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of minorities, women, and people with disabilities (Brody Jr., 2015).
Three Ways the Policies Affect the Hiring Process
The use of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies has various impacts on the hiring process of various organizations. For starters, it affects the hiring process in that it encourages organizations to put more effort in finding qualified personnel to fill a specified position (Stoilkovska, Ilieva, & Gjakovski, 2015). In this regard, the policies ensure that human resource managers thoroughly scrutinize the qualifications that they associate with a given position in the organization. this scrutiny, thus ensures that businesses do not hire people based on personal attachments.
Another impact on the hiring practices of the affirmative action policies is that organizations, before advertising a job position, must develop a comprehensive job description so as only to attract those people that are qualified for the advertised position. As affirmative action and equal employment policies dictate meticulous evaluation of the qualifications of all the people that respond to an advertised employment position, a comprehensive job description is vital for HR managers so as to ensure that those rejected for a certain position is due to their subpar qualifications as opposed to other characteristics
outlined in the affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policies (Stoilkovska, Ilieva, & Gjakovski, 2015).
Conversely, these policies do at times affect an organizations hiring process in a negative way. As mentioned above, human resources managers have to evaluate all applications received for an advertised job position. In a situation where there are an extreme number of applicants that all meet the qualification, other methods to disqualify some of the applicants have to be employed. In this case, there is a risk of reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is a situation where in a bid to meet the conditions of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policies, previously discriminated groups are favored more that the majority group (Gratz, 2014). Hence individuals in the majority group miss out on employment opportunities not because of their lack of sufficient qualifications but due to reverse discrimination.
One Positive and One Negative Impact of The Policies on A Work Environment
Ultimately, equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies have played a huge role in eliminating discrimination in the society, not just in the business sector. One of the major positive impacts of these policies is that women, minority groups, and disabled people are getting more employment opportunities on an equal footing as everyone else. Thus, they also help reduce stereotyping associated with these groups. On the other hand, as previously stated, the policies also have a major negative impact. Reverse discrimination is not a current, however, it is still a thorn in the affirmative action agenda. In an effort to have a diverse workforce in an organization, more people from the majority group are being left out in spite of their qualifications (Gratz, 2014).
American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity. (2015). More History of Affirmative Action Policies from the 1960s. Retrieved from American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity: https://www.aaaed.org/aaaed/History_of_Affirmative_Action.asp
Brody Jr., C. E. (2015). A Historical Review of Affirmative Action and the Interpretation of Its Legislative Intent by the Supreme Court. Akron Law Review.
Gratz, J. (2014, February 27). The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from Discriminating Toward Equality: Affirmative Action and the Diversity Charade: http://www.heritage.org/poverty-and-inequality/report/discriminating-toward-equality-affirmative-action-and-the-diversity
Stoilkovska, A., Ilieva, J., & Gjakovski, S. (2015). Equal Employment Opportunities in the Recruitment and Selection Process of Human Resources. Journal of Economics, 281-292.
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