Affirmative Action and EEOC

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

Affirmative action refers to procedures intended to abolish discrimination against applicants for college and jobs, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps ensure that affirmative action laws are enforced. Learn about affirmative action and EEOC, and understand their intent to establish a new beginning for minorities, women, and other groups who face discrimination. Updated: 10/01/2021

A New Beginning

The United States has come a long way from its origin. If we think back as recent as the 1960s, we can see that the U.S. went through a great amount of change to stop discrimination of individuals based on color or gender. This change was not an easy one to make, yet the United States developed a federal agenda that began a course of equality for all people.

One of the results of this work was affirmative action. Affirmative action, initiated in the 1960s, focused on counteracting historical discrimination faced by ethnic minorities, women and other groups that were typically not represented, especially in the workplace or education institutions. Affirmative action resulted in policies that are meant to include minority groups and thereby increase diversity in an organization or business.

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  • 0:04 A New Beginning
  • 0:41 Affirmative Action
  • 1:15 The EEOC
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
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Affirmative Action

Affirmative action was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 as a method to address discrimination and civil rights. What Kennedy started, after his assassination, President Johnson finished. The act focused mainly on education and jobs and enacted measures so that blacks and minorities would enjoy the same opportunities as whites. Examples of those opportunities could be promotions, pay increases, admission to schools and financial aid. Essentially, it covered any number of aspects that were unavailable or more difficult to obtain for minorities prior to affirmative action being enacted.

The EEOC

From affirmative action sprang the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. This commission is responsible for enforcing the laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant for their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. Taking this a step further, the EEOC also enacts laws that make discrimination illegal against someone who complains about discrimination, anyone who has filed a charge of discrimination or in any way joins in on a discrimination lawsuit; thus, protecting individuals of all different backgrounds, religions, races and sexes from any type of discrimination that could be present. The EEOC laws cover almost all organizations, and these laws pertain to labor unions and employment agencies alike. Thus, no organization is exempt from equal opportunity laws.

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