Disabled veterans affirmative action program (DVAAP)

Affirmative action is an actually a reasonably new development when looking at the long history of the United States. Basically, it is designed to ensure that anyone who was treated unfairly in the past because of specific characteristics like race or gender gets equal treatment now. But there are also some difficulties with this idea, and there are people who feel that affirmative action is not a fair deal to those who are not minorities. Mostly white males feel that women and minorities are being chosen before them in hiring decisions and that they are also promoted at a higher rate in companies that have affirmative action policies in the workplace.

It has become very difficult for many companies to find a good balance between being fair to white males who are in the workforce or looking to enter the workforce, and being fair to everyone else. There is another group, as well, who must be addressed where this issue is concerned. More and more places have policies that say that they will hire disabled American veterans. There is certainly nothing wrong with hiring these people if they can do the job, but there have been some concerned that they might be selected over other, more qualified, candidates simply because of the service to our country.

The purpose of this particular paper, therefore, is to discuss affirmative action issues, particularly as they pertain to the hiring and promoting decisions that come along with minorities, women, and veterans. The paper will also look at how affirmative action relates to discrimination in both hiring and promoting, and in other aspects of the issue as well. The goal becomes to show that, for the most part, affirmative action actually works well. There are only a few instances when it is really taken too far and where it becomes actually detrimental to both white males because they cannot find work as easily, and minorities because they are believed to be promoted based on their race and/or gender, instead of on the merits of their work (Employment, 2003).

Too Much Action - Reverse Discrimination

In other words, the idea of 'reverse discrimination' has become a serious concern for the white males who have no disabilities, and being able to get promoted on merit has become a serious concern for both women and minorities, as well as for people who do have disabilities. This is certainly not true of every person who falls into these groups, but it is a generalization that has some of its basis in fact. The issue is important enough, though, to cause some concern among many employers, as they do not want to get into any trouble because they did not hire enough minorities, no matter which minority group one is talking about. However, it seems as though they can also see themselves in trouble for hiring too many over and above other workers, especially if those other workers are more qualified and/or better able to do the job that they are hired for. The purpose here is to answer the question: should disabled veterans get preferential treatment over better qualified candidates who are not disabled veterans?

Getting Around the Guidelines

It is a very unfortunate turn of events, but there are a lot of different ways that individual companies use to work around guidelines that they are supposed to be following in an effort to ensure that they are hiring and promoting the right number of minorities and others who they have promised that they will not discriminate against - and for most places, that includes disabled veterans. There are a lot of ways to show people as not being qualified and not able to perform a particular job. Some of these are not entirely accurate and appropriate, but there are still quite a few companies that use them when they can. Sometimes they actually do get caught, and even the federal government has occasionally been hauled into court for unfair hiring practices which were not in compliance with affirmative action regulations (What, 2002). This is a sad state of affairs, especially for veterans.

The main problems that are seen with discrimination and affirmative action claims are that they can be very difficult to prove unless they are almost ridiculously obvious. A company that has a policy not to hire any black people, for example, would easily be found to be in violation of the rules. A company that does not really want to hire black people and finds testing and other procedures that is able to single them out while still appearing legitimate will often be able to get away with this kind of discrimination, at least for a while (What, 2002).

There are a lot of legal and ethical issues which arise when discrimination and affirmative action are being addressed and considered, and these issues present a great many opportunities for change for businesses which are having difficulties meeting the goals that the affirmative action policies are asking of them. For cases that are very problematic, it is sometimes necessary to create more specific goals and quotas that will have to be filled so that any past wrongs can be better corrected. For others, it is only a matter of ensuring that people who are hired represent a fair cross-section of people who live in that area and who would be able to perform that job correctly (Tompkins, 1995). That should include disabled veterans as well, but it seems inappropriate to single them out to the extent that they are hired at a rate that is much higher than the rate that they are seen in the community. This could amount to reverse discrimination, where unqualified people are chosen over qualified people because they fit into a certain category. This kind of discrimination is just as wrong as the other kind.

Changing the Status Quo

In many cases, the status quo in this country has meant that there will be more minorities and women in the lower-paying jobs, because a lot of these people do not have the skills that are needed for more difficult (and therefore better paying) employment opportunities. However, there are more women and more minorities attending college than there ever were before, so some of the demographics are changing for the better. Many employers are now required to allow women and minorities into their workforces at a higher rate because there are more women and minorities who are qualified to do the jobs which are being advertised (Tompkins, 1995). This is slightly more difficult for disabled veterans, though, because there are jobs that they simply cannot do depending of the nature of their disability. Being forced to hire them and accommodate them over hiring someone who can do the job with no accommodations can cost the company a lot of money and be very difficult, especially for smaller companies or those that operate on a very strict profit margin.

One of the difficulties with affirmative action for disabled veterans or anyone else is that many people would argue that the law is not actually helping anybody. There also appears to be some opinion that a lot of the issues that deal with affirmative action actually hurt people they are designed to help. This occurs because of the issue of merit. It makes people feel inferior, even if they have managed to get some of the good jobs, because many of them feel like they would not have received the same kinds of opportunities had they been of an unprotected class. In other words, the disabled veteran who got the good job even though he was not really the most qualified might actually feel worse - he did not 'earn' the job, and instead was given it out of pity and the requirements of the law. This might not actually be the case, but he or she might have very strong feelings as to why this occurred, and this reduces his or her quality of work life very strongly, whether or not it is really accurate (Tompkins, 1995).

The Specifics of Law

The laws that are designed to protect against affirmative action can get very confusing, but there is only one basic law that is important to a good understanding of the issue. That particular law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, created in 1964. That law stated that no person can be discriminated against based on color, race, religion, sex, or national origin (Civil, 1964). There is no mention of disability or veteran status. There was an amendment that was added to Title VII in 1991, but it did not change any information related to protected categories and the affirmative action policies that are so important in business today. Title VII, along with other laws about sexual harassment and workplace issues that need to be addressed, is enforced by a governing body called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Commission handles most of the laws…