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Workforce Diversity FAQs

Affirmative Action 

What is the difference between Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity? 
Equal Opportunity prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected classes such as race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, veteran status, genetic information, and disability. 

Affirmative Action refers to positive courses of action taken by organizations in their recruitment efforts to overcome the effects of past discrimination against underrepresented groups such as women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Affirmative Action requires organizations to actively seek measures to remove any barriers that artificially limit the professional and personal development of individuals who are members of protected classes. Federal law requires federal contractors to take recruitment steps to increase the number and percentage of applications from qualified women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities for position vacancies where those groups are underutilized.

What are some examples of Affirmative Action measures?

  • using recruitment methods likely 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 an Affirmative Action Program?
Federal law requires a written affirmative action program for all federal contractors holding contracts of $50,000 or more and with 50 or more employees. Affirmative Action Programs are designed to provide ways to measure opportunities for qualified minorities and women in all parts of an organization. An Affirmative Action Program is prepared annually by the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.


I am about to advertise a vacant position. Do I have to put an EEO/AA statement at the bottom of the ad?

Yes, all advertisements must include the following statement:

The University of Houston is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution and recognizes protected classes of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), genetic information, religion, age (40 and above), national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or status, and gender expression as required by federal law. Veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Please contact EOS if you need suggested language for an EEO/AA statement.

Can I ask a person in an interview if they have any disabilities?
No, you cannot gather information about a person’s disability status or if they should require an accommodation until after a job offer has been extended and accepted. However, if the individual requires an accommodation during the interview process, they must be provided with one and this information cannot be utilized in the hiring decision.

How can I learn more about the "Dos and Don'ts" of the recruitment and selection process?
Contact EOS at 713-743-8835, and a representative will meet with your search committee to provide guidance tailored to your search needs.