Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action: Resources

Questions & Answers

Haven't Proposition 209 and the Regents' Resolution SP-2 eliminated affirmative action?

No. As a federal contractor, and under the terms of SP-2 and Proposition 209, the University must comply with federal laws and regulations regarding affirmative action. The University must continue to develop and implement affirmative action plans that identify areas of underutilization of minorities and women. Hiring authorities should demonstrate good faith efforts to eliminate underutilization through actions such as target recruitment to underutilized groups.

Is affirmative action reverse discrimination?

No. Affirmative action policies provide equal opportunity to those groups which have been systematically denied it. Affirmative action is not the source of discrimination, but the vehicle for removing the effects of discrimination. A recent Labor Department report found fewer than 100 reverse discrimination cases among more than 3,000 discrimination cases between 1990 and 1994. Discrimination was established in only 6 of the 100 cases or .02% of the total number of discrimination cases in this period. The report found "many of the [reverse discrimination] cases were the result of a disappointed applicant...erroneously assuming that when a woman or person of color got the job, it was because of sex or race, not qualifications." (S.F. Chronicle, 3/31/95)

Are employers expected to hire the less qualified over the more qualified to meet affirmative action goals?

Employers are not expected to establish any hiring practices that conflict with the principles of sound personnel management. No one should be hired unless there is a basis for believing the individual is the best-qualified candidate. In fact, affirmative action calls for the hiring of qualified people. "The goal of any affirmative action plan should be achievement of genuine equal employment opportunity for all qualified persons." (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 41, Part 60-3.17.4)

Is there really any difference between goals and quotas?

Yes. Quotas are rigid and exclusionary; they imply, "This is what you must achieve, no matter what." Goals are flexible and inclusive; they imply, "This is what we think you can achieve if you try your best." Goals are simply program objectives translated into numbers. They provide a target to strive for and a vehicle for measuring progress. The campus does not use quotas, but sets goals for those job groups where underutilization of minorities and women is identified.

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