Government Regulation as it Relates to Affirmative Action

The modern industrial society we know today is very different from hundreds of years ago where the majority of individuals worked for themselves on a farm, as a baker or in some other self-employment capacity. Once people begin to labor for others, that's when problems began. Workers faced with unfavorable conditions grew tired of poor working conditions and organized themselves into unions. Organizations resented the power unions had over their workers and a power play between employees and employers began. Hence, we see in the 1920's we began to see legislations designed to make both parties happy. The focus of this paper is the effect of Affirmative Action on selection, recruitment and retention of staff. Affirmative Action is one of the newest legislations on the books affecting workers; however, many organizations are embracing it and making great strides. In my place of work for example, we have programs to help create a culture of diversity. Our goal is to hire and keep the best, taking care not to omit women and minorities from being hired or promoted based on their gender or racial profiles. My organization invests money in targeting minority candidates, retaining them and ensuring a discriminatory free and inclusive work environment. The gap between Affirmative Action and the practices at my workplace is very small. Just 30 years ago, our top leadership consisted of all white males. Today at my organization, we have whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women and people with disability climbing the latter.


The focus of this paper will be on Affirmative Action and how it relates to human capital management and human resource management structures. This paper will provide a brief exploration of Affirmative Action to include the definition and brief history. I will also analyze the influence of Affirmative Action on human capital management structures such as selection, recruitment, and retention of staff. In addition, I will assess the influence of Affirmative Action on human capital management structures at my organization. Finally, I identify and compare gaps between the influence of labor law on human capital management illustrated in the readings and in practice at my place of employment.

A History and Definition of Affirmative Action

The term Affirmative Action is often misunderstood by many, as most opposed to Affirmative Action believe it results in reverse discrimination allowing unqualified candidates to secure jobs over qualified candidates simply because of their skin color. Nothing could be further from the truth. The actual phrase "affirmative action" was first used in President John F. Kennedy's 1961 Executive Order 10925 requiring federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." This was later expanded by Johnson to include women. It was the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Titles II and VII which made racial and gender discrimination illegal in employment.

Influence of Affirmative Action on Human Capital Management Structures

While labor acts such as the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 alluded to discriminatory hiring practices (Bohlander, G. & Snell, S. (2010), it wasn't until the Civil Rights movement that we see laws passed specifically addressing the rights of minorities and women. No one union existed addressing the issues of minorities, so the Civil Rights movement served as a union in and of itself. Minorities, blacks specifically were bound by a common dissatisfaction of how they were treated in American and the outrage over job discrimination and lower wages. Affirmative Action changed the government and private workplace significantly. Industry was compelled by the Civil Rights Act to comply with the nondiscrimination mandate by effectively monitor…