Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity

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Affirmative Action Terms

Adverse Impact: adverse impact may be found when a selection process for a particular job or group of jobs

results in the selection of members of any racial, ethnic, or sex group at a lower rate than members of other groups may.

The enforcement agencies will generally regard a selection rate for any group which is less than four-fifths (4/5) or eighty percent of the rate

for the group with the highest selection rate as constituting evidence of adverse impact. Depending on the size of the sample and other factors,

however, the enforcement agencies could measure adverse impact other than by the “80%

rule”. In a particular case, of course, the final arbiter of the question would be the federal court.

Affected Class: any group of employees or former employees who are members of a

protected group that has suffered or that continues to suffer the effects of unlawful


 Affirmative Action: a process in which employers identify problem areas in the

employment of protected class members, set goals and take positive steps to ensure equal

employment opportunities of a protected class where they are underrepresented in an

organization in relation to their availability in the labor markets from which recruiting


Affirmative Action Plan: the written document through which management assures that

all persons have equal opportunities in recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion,

training, discipline, and related employment areas. The plan is tailored to the employer’s

work force and the skills available in the labor force. It prescribes specific actions, goals,

timetables, responsibilities and describes resources to meet identified needs. The plan is

a comprehensive results oriented program designed to achieve equal employment

opportunity rather than merely to assure nondiscrimination.

 Applicant Flow: the number of applicants applying for a particular job over a given

period of time, analyzed by protected class characteristics.

Applicant Pool: all candidates who have applied for a job, during the period the job was

open, from whom a person is selected to fill the position.

 Availability: an estimate of the number of qualified candidates available for

employment, from which it is expected to recruit to fill positions in a given job group.

Availability estimates are derived from Census 2000 data, unemployment data,

educational statistics, higher education demo-graphical data, and other relevant entities,

and current promotion-eligible workforce demographics.

Availability Analysis: an analysis that identifies the number of protected-class members

available to work in the appropriate labor markets in given jobs.

Bias: a tendency or inclination that prevents objectivity.

Compliance: a situation in which an agency fully meets the requirements of laws, rules,

and regulations and court cases which mandate nondiscrimination and affirmative action.

Discrimination: occurs when individuals having a common characteristic such as age,

ancestry, color, disability, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or

veteran status are denied equal privilege or treatment.                                                                             

Disparate Effect or Disparate Impact: the result of an employment policy, practice, or

procedure that, in practical application, has less favorable consequences for a protected

class than for the dominant group.

Disparate Treatment: employment practices such as the use of tests or educational

requirements, fair and neutral on their face, which are applied or administered in an

unfair manner. An example would be using an “old boy network” to hire for jobs even

though the positions have been posted.

Diversity: a broad concept that values all people equally, regardless of their differences.

Equal Employment Opportunity: involves the right of persons to apply and be

evaluated for employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, age,

national origin, sex, disability, or Veteran status. It guarantees everyone the right to be

considered solely on the basis of his or her ability to perform the duties of the job in

question, with, or without reasonable accommodations as appropriate. Equal

Employment Opportunity does not involve preferences.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): the federal government

agency mandated to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. The

Federal Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity has the power to bring suits,

subpoena witnesses, issue guidelines which have the force of law, render decisions,

provide legal assistance to complainants, etc., in regard to fair employment.

Ethnicity: a group classification in which members share a unique social and cultural

heritage passed on from one generation to the next. Involves customs, language, religion,

and other cultural factors.

Goals: good faith, quantitative employment objectives which employers voluntarily set

as the minimum progress they can make within a certain time period (usually one year) to

correct under-utilization of protected classes in their work force.

Good Faith Efforts: broad, active effects to move affirmative action programs beyond

the normal; the “extra mile,” pro-active and aggressive recruiting efforts.

Job Title: the particular name or classification of a job.

Labor market: a geographical area from which it is reasonable to expect to recruit

employees or, in the case of a promotional appointment from within or from a statewide

employment, reemployment or transfer list, the office(s), position(s), position

classification(s), employment, reemployment or transfer list from which the promotional

appointment is or may be made.

Occupational category: a set of job groups derived from the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission’s EEO-6 categories. There are seven occupational categories

consisting of job groups with similar sets of primary functions:


 EEO 1 – Executive/Managerial

 EEO 2 – Faculty

 EEO 3 – Non Instructional Professional

 EEO 4 – Clerical

 EEO 5 – Technical/Paraprofessional

 EEO 6 – Skilled Craft Workers

 EEO 7 – Service/Maintenance


Parity: a condition achieved in an organization when the protected class composition of

its work force is equal to that in the relevant available labor force.

Protected Classes: protected classes are composed of individuals identified for

protection under equal employment laws and regulations. Many of the protected classes

historically have been subjected to discrimination.

By alphabetical order, Rhode Island protected classes in employment are:

age, ancestry, color, criminal record, genetic information, learning disability, marital

status, past or present history of mental disability, mental retardation, national origin,

disability, prior protected activity, race , religious creed, sex, sexual orientation,

workplace hazards to the reproductive system.

Race: a group of people related by common descent or heredity.

Under-utilization: a disparity between the employment of members of a racial, ethnic, or

gender group in a job or job group and their availability. Under-utilization is determined

by conducting an availability analysis.

Utilization Analysis: an analysis that identifies the number of protected-class members

employed and the types of jobs they hold in the organization.

Workforce Analysis: For Affirmative Action purposes, a listing of each job title as it appears in payroll records, are ranked from highest paid to lowest paid within each department.

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