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Understanding affirmative action in the workplace

When people think about affirmative action, they may realize they do not know much about it. Because this policy is designed to help prevent discrimination in the workplace, it can be helpful for California residents to understand how it can affect their workplace.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, affirmative action is intended to ensure everyone has equal access to work and educational opportunities. Most people may think the people who benefit most from this policy are ethnic groups such as African-Americans, women and other minorities such as Hispanics. However, affirmative action is not just a policy for the workplace. Many universities also use affirmative action to make sure Hispanic and African-American students are represented among the student body.

Employers take several steps to ensure that their hiring policies meet those required by affirmative action. Chron.com says that employers are typically required to write an affirmative action plan and include this in their job applications. Additionally, companies have a flowchart with information about all of their job applicants. This is usually required so a human resources department can demonstrate that the company considers applicants from diverse backgrounds. While this flowchart contains information about a candidate's ethnicity and gender, companies generally do not use it to hire new employees.

Some may think that companies may use a hiring quota to bring women and minorities into their workplace. This is not the case, though. Affirmative action generally prohibits companies from utilizing hiring quotas. Instead, companies typically make sure that they post job applications in professional organizations designed for women and minorities. Additionally, some employers attend job fairs at historically black colleges and universities.

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