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Compare and Contrast Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

Affirmative Action

Equal Opportunity

"Active Policy" "Passive policy"
Requires employers to take steps to make certain they are achieving goals of parity Prohibits intentional discrimination; requires that employers assess whether their organizational practices are producing discriminatory effects
Recognizes that intentions and achievements are not always perfectly matched and checks employer intentions against outcomes, according to standard business practices and legal doctrine Sets no procedures for checking the difference between employer intention and outcome
Requires employers to monitor progress Sets no procedures for monitoring progress
Establishes counting as necessary to determining whether employers have been successful in ensuring that outcomes are consistent with the goal of parity. Sets no procedures for assessing how well employers have met the goal of equal employment opportunity.
Requires that employer goals be based on counts of specific categories (i.e., race, gender, disability) Does not look at categories because there is no system for assessing outcomes
by Clark, Leslie A. last modified May 16, 2012 01:13 PM