They had to create more employment opportunities for black contractors as a result. This is exactly the situation that the equal employment laws were created to guard against, and the reason they were implemented in the first place.

How does an employer guard against reverse discrimination in designing equal employment opportunities for its employees? Author Gullett contends, "Greater emphasis may also need to be placed on less intrusive methods of inclusion such as widening the scope of recruitment and providing greater training opportunities for women and minorities" (Gullett, 2000, p. 107). Clearly, employers must think about changing not only their hiring practices but also their training and promotion programs if they find minorities are still underrepresented in their locations.

Employers must tread lightly if they use only affirmative action laws and hiring practice at the expense of other genders or ethnicities, as several court challenges have indicated. To keep hiring practices fair, if race or gender comes into play in hiring decisions, it should be only one aspect of the decision, not the sole decision to hire any individual. The laws were designed to create fair hiring practices in business and industry, and any practice that discriminates against anyone, for any reason, is really not a valid hiring practice at all, and employers must be aware of that, not only because it is right, but also because of the many legalities that can be involved in these decisions.

Today, there are other factors in the affirmative actions laws, as well. Many older workers and people who suffer from obesity or other health problems have accused employers of reverse discrimination because of their age or appearance. Employers must also be aware that these applicants have also been covered under affirmative action cases, although they are often much harder to prove, so employers must be aware of how to handle these cases, as well.

Reverse discrimination charges have also surfaced in many American schools. White students contend they have been passed over for admission into certain schools to make room for more minority students. One of the most famous was at Northwestern University in 2004, but others have occurred. Another writer notes, "But the overriding justification for affirmative action has always been its impact on minorities. Few of us would enthusiastically support preferential admission policies if we did not believe they played a powerful, irreplaceable role in giving nonwhites in America access to higher education" (Sander, 2004). To put these laws into perspective, however, it is important to see how much the country has improved in equal opportunity laws and employment. Sander continues, "In 1964, there were only about three hundred first-year black law students in the United States, and one-third of these were attending the nation's half-dozen historically black law schools" (Sander, 2004). 1964 was the year these laws went into effect. Today, that number has risen to 3400 according to Sanders, so that indicates that these laws are encouraging more minorities to attend college, to be accepted at those colleges, and develop careers that will help others and move them up the social scale in the country.

In conclusion, reverse discrimination is a problem for employers because of the affirmative action laws that apply to hiring applicants, as well as the implications for current employees at a facility. Employers need to know the laws, how to apply them, and how to use them in training and promotion to build a valid, diversified workforce. If they do not, they could face costly legal actions, sanctions from the government, and other problems. In a perfect world, life would treat everyone fairly. Until that happens, there is affirmative action, instead.


Gullett, C.R. (2000). Reverse discrimination and remedial affirmative action in employment: Dealing with the paradox of nondiscrimination. Public Personnel…