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HRMT413 Week 4 Discussion

This week's discussion focuses on race-based discrimination and affirmative action. Please answer all questions below.

1. What is affirmative action in the context of employment law? Which employers are compelled to utilize affirmative action plans?

2. Summarize the Griggs decision. Who were the parties? What was in dispute? How did the court rule? What is the impact of this decision?

3. In your informed opinion, is affirmative action still necessary/viable in the modern workplace? Why or why not?

Week 4: Supporting a Diverse Workplace

1. Affirmative action in the workplace is a strategy for promoting equal employment opportunity. Employers often take steps to address workplace inequalities or to help historically or currently disadvantaged groups of individuals. Affirmative action programs can imply that companies make various decisions explicitly based on an employee's or job applicant's race, national origin, handicap, or gender. Affirmative action programs may be voluntary, mandated by statute or court decision, or mandatory as a condition of winning a government contract (Roberson, King & Hebl, 2020). When an employer is sued for illegal discrimination, the court may

order the employer to establish an affirmative action program to address prior acts of discrimination. Additionally, federal contractors may be legally obligated to establish affirmative action plans in addition to being prohibited from discriminating against certain groups.

2. In Griggs v. Duke Power (1971), the Supreme Court announced a unanimous decision that altered the nation's workplaces. The Supreme Court adopted a powerful legal instrument known as the "disparate impact" paradigm as a result of LDF's activism. It has been critical in the struggle to eliminate arbitrary and artificial barriers to employment for all individuals, regardless of race (Belton & Wasby, 2019). Griggs and the Duke Power Co. were the parties. The Supreme Court determined that Duke Power's standards were contrived and superfluous, and that the transfer restrictions disproportionately impacted blacks. Additionally, the court determined that even if the rules were not motivated by racial discrimination, they were discriminatory and so illegal.

The Griggs decision established the right of employees to challenge employers' discriminatory employment practices if the employer cannot demonstrate that the policy is justified by business necessity. It also paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which codified the Griggs-endorsed "disparate impact" theory of discrimination.

3. In my opinion, affirmative action is sustainable in the current workplace because without a legislative requirement or structured program requiring businesses to consider race, gender, and bias, things will revert to the status quo of decades past. People will simply think that white men are more qualified, whether due to racism or unconscious bias. Developing a diverse workforce requires deliberate choice and effort, and in some cases, statutory obligations.


Belton, R., & Wasby, S. L. (2019). The crusade for equality in the workplace: The Griggs v. Duke power story. University Press of Kansas.

Roberson, Q., King, E., & Hebl, M. (2020). Designing more effective practices for reducing workplace inequality. Behavioral Science & Policy, 6(1), 39-49.

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