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Affirmative Action FAQ

What are affirmative action and equal opportunity, and are they the same?
Equal Opportunity prohibits discriminatory employment and academic decisions taken based on protected classifications such as race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, veteran status, genetic information or disability. It also includes measures taken to ensure fairness in the employment process; it is the idea of equal treatment and respect.

Affirmative action goes further than equal employment opportunity. Affirmative action asserts that organizations and individuals in organizations seek to overcome the effects of past discrimination against groups such as women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities by making a positive and continuous effort in their recruitment, employment, retention, and promotion efforts.

Affirmative action also requires organizations to actively seek to remove any barriers that artificially limit the professional and personal development of individuals who are members of protected groups. Affirmative recruitment steps should be taken to increase applications from qualified women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities for each position vacancy.

What affirmative action programs are required for the University?
UH is required to direct employment efforts toward increasing the numbers of women, minorities (American Indian, Asian, Black, and Hispanic), veterans, and persons with disabilities. These efforts focus on advertising employment opportunities in media and other forums that will likely be viewed by underrepresented groups.

What are some types of affirmative action measures?

  • Aggressive recruiting to expand the pool of candidates for job openings.
  • Evaluating and updating selection tools and criteria to ensure their relevance to job performance.
  • Revising traditional measures of merit to better recognize talent and performance under varying conditions.

What is the Affirmative Action Program?
A written affirmative action program is required of all federal contractors holding contracts of $50,000 or more and with 50 or more employees. The Affirmative Action Program is designed to provide ways in which to measure hiring, training and promotional opportunities for qualified minorities and women in all parts of an organization. The Affirmative Action Program is prepared annually by the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/AA.