Voluntary Affirmative Action Plans

In the past 20 years, many employers developed affirmative action plans to increase hiring women and minorities in their workforce, even though federal, state or local law did not require them to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of affirmative action plans under certain criteria for plans addressing past racial balance1 and sexual discrimination.2 In both of those cases, the Court concluded that the plan was lawful because it:

  • Was meant to correct imbalances against protected classes and traditionally segregated job categories
  • Did not result in the discharge or exclusion of white employees who were not members of a protected class
  • Did not create an absolute bar to the advancement of unprotected class employees
  • Was temporary and designed to eliminate a manifest imbalance against protected classes

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