A brief glossary of terms related to Workforce Diversity
This list is by no means complete. Some to the terms change slightly as the discussion evolves and gets applied. It is a good starting point. Also, there have been recent changes such as an expanded definition of the term Disability and mandates of for federal contractors to employ a certain percentage of workers with disabling conditions.
ADVERSE IMPACT: Under the ‘Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures’ of the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council. “Adverse impact may be found when a selection process for a particular job or group of jobs results in the selection of members of any racial, ethnic, or sex group at a lower rate than members of other groups. The enforcement agencies will generally regard a selection rate for any group which is less than four fifths (4/5) or eighty percent of the rate for the group with the highest selection rate as constituting evidence of adverse impact…Depending on the size of the sample and other factors, however, the enforcement agencies could measure adverse impact other than by the “80% rule”. In a particular case, of course, the final arbiter of the question would be the federal courts.
AFFECTED CLASS: Any group which continues to suffer the effects of past discriminatory practices. Affected class status must be determined by analysis or court decision.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Specific actions in recruitment, hiring, upgrading and other areas designed and taken for the purpose of eliminating the present effects of past discrimination, or to prevent discrimination. It is one aspect of the federal government’s efforts to ensure equal employment opportunity. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, or national origin, and requires contractors to implement affirmative action plans to increase the participation of minorities and women in the workplace. Pursuant to federal regulations, affirmative action plans must consist of an equal opportunity policy statement, an analysis of the current work force, identification of problem areas, the establishment of goals and timetables for increasing employment opportunities, specific action-oriented programs to address problem areas, support for community action programs, and the establishment of an internal audit and reporting system.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN: The written document through which management assures that all persons have equal opportunities in recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, training, discipline and related employment areas. The plan is tailored to the employer’s work force and the skills available in the labor force. It prescribes specific actions, goals, timetables, responsibilities and describes resources to meet identified needs. The plan is a comprehensive results oriented program designed to achieve equal employment opportunity rather than merely to assure nondiscrimination.
AFFIRMATIVE RECRUITMENT: Special recruitment efforts undertaken to assure that qualified protected class members are well represented in the applicant pools for positions from or in which they have been excluded or substantially underutilized. Such efforts may include contacting organizations and media with known protected class constituencies. Open job posting and advertising and “equal opportunity employer” statements necessary in many situations are matters of nondiscrimination rather than measures of affirmative recruitment.
AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1964: Prohibits discrimination in employment of individuals over 40 years of age and older, except in special circumstances.
AMERICAN INDIAN (NATIVE AMERICAN) OR ALASKAN NATIVE: A person having origin in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I), by state and local governments (Title II), in public accommodations (Title III) and in telecommunications (Title IV).
APPLICANT POOL: All people who have applied for a particular job or group of jobs during one period of opening. The collection of candidates from whom the selection or selections for available positions may be made.
ASIAN OR PACIFIC ISLANDER: A person having origin in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia (i.e., Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese), the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa.
AVAILABILITY: An estimate of the percentage of minorities and women in the relevant labor market who are qualified and interested in positions during the term of the affirmative action program. Using a process that considers eight factors, statistics from outside labor markets and the internal campus work force are used to determine availability percentages for each job group.
BLACK: A person, not of Hispanic origin, who has origin in any of the black racial groups of the original peoples of Africa.
BONA FIDE OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION (BFOQ): A minimum qualification that is needed to be able to perform the duties of a particular job, which would otherwise be unlawful because of its discriminatory impact based on one’s sex, religion, or national origin, etc. Examples are the requirement that an actor playing the part of a woman be a woman or that a minister of a particular religion be a member of that particular religion. The concept of BFOQ is interpreted very narrowly by both the EEOC and the federal courts. Age may be a BFOQ under the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967. Race is never a BFOQ.
BUSINESS NECESSITY: A legitimate business purpose that justifies an employment practice as valid and necessary for the effective achievement of the organization’s objectives and the safe and efficient operation of the business.
CIVIL RIGHTS: Personal rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution, i.e., freedom of speech, press, freedom from discrimination.
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: Prohibits discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds. Title VI: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or national origin in federally-financially assisted programs. Title VII: Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex (including pregnancy).
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991: Amends Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding the protected category of “disability” and provides for appropriate remedies for intentional discrimination and unlawful harassment in the work place. The 1991 Act does not affect court-ordered remedies, affirmative action, or conciliation agreements, which are in accordance with the law.
CLASS ACTION: A civil action brought by one or more individuals on behalf of themselves and “all others similarly situated” (or equivalent language). The purpose of a class action is to secure a judicial remedy which not only eliminates a wrong committed against an individual, and compensates him or her for the effects of that wrong, but which also provides such remedies for all others in a definable class who have suffered as a result of the same practice or practices. The technical legal requirements and definition of a class in federal court proceedings are contained in Rule 23 (b) of the Federal Rules of Procedure.
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR): The code contains Presidential executive orders and regulations based on those orders, federal laws, and other federal regulations. Related matters are grouped together. Title 41 CFR Chapter 60, for example, deals with the various Department of Labor EEO regulations and guidelines concerning federal government contractors.
COMPARABLE WORTH: Payment of wages based on the value of the work performed taking into consideration such factors as education, training, skills, experience, effort, responsibility and working conditions, This issue is raised particularly in comparing the salaries paid for occupations that are traditionally female to salaries paid for those that are traditionally male.
COMPLIANCE: A federal contractor and is obligated to comply with federal laws and regulations regarding affirmative action. These obligations include ensuring diverse pools of applicants for positions; developing and maintaining affirmative action plans which identify areas of underutilization of minorities and women; and demonstrating good faith efforts to eliminate underutilization.
COMPLIANCE AGENCY: Any local, state, or federal government agency which administers laws or regulations in the EEO field.
DIFFERENTIAL VALIDATION: Validation of test at different score levels for different classes of people. This is not tantamount to “lowering standards” for one or more groups to favor them over others. Differential validation occurs only where lower test scores by one class actually do predict a level of job performance equivalent to that predicted by the higher scores of another class.
DISABLED INDIVIDUAL: Any person who:
1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
2) has a record of such impairment; or
3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
The following are general definitions as to the meaning of ‘disability’
a) Physical or Mental Impairment means I) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or ii) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term ‘physical or mental impairment’ includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction and alcoholism.
b) Major Life Activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.
c) Has a Record of Such an Impairment means has a history of a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities.
dais Regarded as Having an Impairment means I) has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated by an employer as constituting such a limitation; ii) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or iii) has none of the impairments defined above but is treated by an employer as having such an impairment.
insubstantially Limits means the degree the impairment affects employability. A handicapped individual who is likely to experience difficulty in securing, retaining or advancing in employment will be considered substantially limited.
DISABLED VETERAN: A person entitled to disability compensation under laws administered by the U.S. Veteran’s Administration for a disability rate of 30 percent or more, or a person whose discharge or release from active duty was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
DISCRIMINATION: An intentional or unintentional act which adversely affects employment opportunities because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, marital status, or national origin, or other factors such as age.
DISPARATE EFFECT OR DISPARATE IMPACT: The result of an employment policy, practice, or procedure that, in practical application, has less favorable consequences for a protected class than for the dominant group.
DISPARATE TREATMENT: Employment practices such as the use of tests or educational requirements, fair and neutral on their face, which are applied or administered in an unfair manner. An example would be using an “old boy network” to hire for jobs even though the positions have been posted.
DIVERSITY: A practice or philosophy that recognizes and respects the importance of all similarities and differences among human beings. Those who are committed, through programs and policies, to fostering inclusiveness, understanding, acceptance and respect in a multicultural society. Diversity includes but is not limited to, age, ethnic origin, national origin, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religious beliefs, creeds and income. A commitment to diversity compels it to confront prejudicial, discriminatory or racist behaviors and policies.
EEO-4 REPORT: The annual report which state and local government employers must file with the EEOC regarding the sex and minority status of their work force by job category and salary intervals. Those required to file include:
1) All states.
2) All other political jurisdictions which have 100 or more employees.
3) An annual sample (rotated each year) of those political jurisdictions which have 15-99 employees.
EIGHT-FACTOR ANALYSIS: Current government regulations require that, in performing availability analyses, an organization must “consider” at least eight designated factors. Referred to as the “8-Factor Analysis,” they include the following for minorities:
1) the minority population of the labor area surrounding the facility;
2) the size of the minority unemployment force in the labor area surrounding the facility;
3) the percentage of the minority work force as compared with the total work force in the immediate labor area;
4) the general availability of minorities having requisite skills in the immediate labor area;
5) the availability of minorities having the requisite skills in an area in which the contractor can reasonably recruit;
6) the availability of promotable and transferable minorities within the contractor’s organization;
7) the existence of training institutions capable of training persons in the requisite skills; and,
8) the degree of training which the contractor is reasonably able to undertake as a means of making all job classes available to minorities.
The above factors for women are identical to those for minorities except that the availability of “women seeking employment in the labor or recruitment area” is substituted for “the minority population in the labor area surrounding the facility” in Factor 1. Availability is determined for each job group by weighting each of the above factors in accordance with each factor’s significance to that job group.
EMPLOYEE: Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended:
” an individual employed by an employer except that the term ‘employee’ shall not include any person elected to public office in any State or political subdivision of any State or any person chosen by such officer to be on such officer’s personal staff, or an appointee on the policy making level or an immediate adviser with respect to the exercise of the constitutional or legal powers of the office. The exemption set forth in the preceding sentence shall not include employees subject to the civil service laws of a State Government, governmental agency or political subdivision.”
EMPLOYER: Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended:
” a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.” The U.S. Government and its wholly owned corporations, Indian tribes, certain departments of the District of Columbia Government, and tax exempt, bona fide private membership clubs are excluded from the definition.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Where all personnel activities are conducted so as to assure equal access in all phases of the employment process. Employment decisions are based solely on the individual merit and fitness of applicants and employees related to specific jobs, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, handicapping conditions, marital status or criminal record.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC): The federal government agency mandated to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. The Commission has five members, each appointed to a five year term by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of Congress. The Federal Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity has the power to bring suits, subpoena witnesses, issue guidelines which have the force of law, render decisions, provide legal assistance to complainants, etc., in regard to fair employment.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COORDINATING COUNCIL (EEOC): The coordinating body established under Section 715 of Title Vii of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in its amendment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. The EEOC is composed of the Secretary of Labor, the Chairman of the EEOC, the Attorney General, the Chairman of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, or their respective delegates. The Council is responsible for taking steps to. . . maximize effort, promote efficiency, and eliminate conflict, competition, duplication and inconsistency among the operations . . .” of various federal agencies with compliance responsibilities in equal employment opportunity.
EQUAL PAY: To provide equal pay for men and women performing the same or substantially similar jobs in the same establishment, (As required by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 for employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act) (e.g., in a department store a female salesperson in the ladies shoe department must receive pay equal to that of a male salesperson in the men’s shoe department.)
EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1963: Requires equal pay for equal work, i.e. substantially equal in skill, effort, and responsibility. Permissible pay discrimination under the Act includes circumstances in which pay differentials between men and women in the same job title are due to (1) seniority system, (2) merit system, (3) system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or (4) differentials based on any other factor other than sex.
ETHNIC GROUP: A group identified on the basis of religion, color or national origin.
EXECUTIVE ORDER: A regulation by the President of the United States or the chief executive of a state which has the effect of law.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 11246 (1965): Prohibits discrimination in employment practices of Federal contractors who receive $50,000 or more in federal funds and have 50 or more employees. Requires affirmative action be taken to provide employment opportunities for qualified women and minorities.
GOALS: Good faith, quantitative employment objectives which employers voluntarily set as the minimum progress they can make within a certain time period (usually one year) to correct under utilization of protected classes in their work force.
GOOD FAITH EFFORTS: Specific actions taken by an employer to meet affirmative action goals or deliver a successful affirmative action program.
GUIDELINES: Documents published by various compliance agencies for the purpose of clarifying provisions of a law or regulation and indicating how an agency will interpret its law or regulation.
HANDICAP: (See Disabled Individual.)
HISPANIC: A person, regardless of race, who is of Spanish culture or origin. This includes, for example, persons from Mexico, Central or South America, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
JOB ANALYSIS: The systematic study of a job to provide information which will enable those planning examinations or other selection devices to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities required for successful performance on the job.
JOB CATEGORY: A grouping or aggregation of job classifications for purposes of analysis or official reporting. For example: Officials and Administrators; Instructional; Professional Non instructional; Clerical/Secretarial; Technical/Paraprofessional.
MINORITY: The term “minorities” as used in affirmative action refers to four historically underrepresented ethnic groups: American Indians, Asians or Pacific Islanders, Blacks, and Hispanics.
OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS (FOCI): The branch of the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for monitoring the compliance status of and resolving complaints against all employers having contracts with the Federal Government.
PARITY: A condition achieved in an organization when the protected class composition of its work force is equal to that in the relevant available labor force.
PRIMA FACE’S legal presumption that arises from a basic showing of facts which will control a decision unless explicitly proved untrue. In the EEO area, statistics of under utilization have been sufficient to make a prima facie case for discrimination. It is then the responsibility of the employer to justify those statistics.
PROTECTED CLASSES: Groups identified in Executive Order 6 (minorities, women, disabled persons and Vietnam Era Veterans) that are specifically protected against employment discrimination.
QUOTAS: In employment law, court ordered or approved hiring and/or promoting of specified numbers or ratios of minorities or women in positions from which a court has found they have been excluded as a result of unlawful discrimination. Quotas are not the same as goals and timetables.
RACIAL/ETHNIC GROUPS: The four racial/ethnic groups protected by Federal equal employment opportunity laws are Blacks, Hispanics, Asians or Pacific Islanders, and American Indians or Alaskan Natives. Racial/ethnic groups are defined by the Federal Government as follows:
White (not of Hispanic origin): Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.
Black (not of Hispanic origin): Persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
Hispanic: Persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
Asian or Pacific Islander: Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia (i.e., Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese), the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.
American Indian or Alaskan Native: Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: The changing of environment, schedules or requirements to adapt to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified handicapped applicant or employee.
REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973: Prohibits discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds on the basis of disability.
Section 503: Requires affirmative action be taken to provide employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities by employers receiving more than $2,500 or more in Federal funds.
Section 504: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs receiving federal funds. Requires reasonable accommodation qualified persons with disabilities, except in cases of undue hardship is shown.
RELEVANT WORK FORCE: All individuals who are qualified to perform a particular job and who would accept employment in the particular geographic location.
SELECTION PROCESS: Any measure, combination of measures, or procedure used as a basis for any employment decision; commonly consists of minimum qualifications, test (s), employment interview, and probationary period.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
1) submission to the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;
2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a bases for an employment affecting the person rejecting or submitting to the conduct; or
3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an affected person’s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: A private preference of an individual protected by Executive Order No. 28 for heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality; or a history of such a preference; or an identification with having such a preference.
SNAPSHOT: Because the work force numbers fluctuate, a snapshot of the work force is taken at one particular point in time, e.g., as of a particular day, and used as the basis for analysis.
STANDARD METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (SMSA): A statistical standard developed for use by federal agencies in the production, analysis, and publication of data on metropolitan areas; each SMSA has one or more central counties containing the area’s main population concentration and may also include outlying counties which have close economic and social relationships with the central counties.
SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION: A pattern of discrimination throughout a place of employment (or program) that is a result of pervasive, interrelated actions, policies or procedures.
TIME TABLE: A specified time frame, required in all affirmative action plans, within which an employer must achieve established numerical employment goals.
TITLE IX (of the 1972 Educational Amendments to the Higher Education Act): Prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving Federal funds. Covers programs and activities including students loans and scholarships, access to courses, housing, health services, athletics, career services and publications.
UNDER REPRESENTED STUDENTS: This group includes underserved students (African Americans/Black, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and multiracial) plus first generation students and low income students. (In specific instances, other groups of students may be considered underrepresented. For example, in a traditionally female discipline, males may be considered underrepresented.)
UNDER SERVED STUDENTS: These are students who have been traditionally excluded from full participation in our society and its institutions. The basis of exclusion has primarily been race and color including African Americans/Black, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and multiracial.
UNDER UTILIZATION / UNDER REPRESENTATION: Term used to describe a situation wherein a lower number of protected class employees are represented than parity would predict. Once under utilization is quantitatively established, an employer must 1) demonstrate that the under utilization is the legitimate effect of a BFOQ or results from business necessity; or 2) develop an affirmative action program with specific, action oriented steps to overcome this under utilization.
UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS: An independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in 1957 and directed to
a) Investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices.
b) Study and collect information concerning legal developments constituting discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap or national origin, or in the administration of justice.
c) Appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap or national origin, or in the administration of justice.
d) Serve as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap or national origin.
e) Submit reports, findings and recommendations to the President and Congress.
UTILIZATION ANALYSIS: A comparison of the percentage of minority or women employees actually in a job group with the percentage of minorities and women in the relevant labor market.
VIETNAM ERA VETERAN: A Vietnam era veteran is a person who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, any part of which occurred between 1/1/63 and 5/7/75, and was discharged and/or released with other than a dishonorable discharge.
VETERAN: A person who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during a period specified and was honorably discharged or was released under honorable circumstances. Armed Forces is defined as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, including all components thereof, and the National Guard when in the service of the United States pursuant to call as provided by law on a full-time active duty basis, which does not include active duty for training purposes. The specified periods of service are:
12/7/41 – 9/2/45 6/26/50 – 1/31/55 1/1/63 – 5/7/75
WORK FORCE ANALYSIS: A statistical analysis of the numbers and percentages of all employees of a specific employer by race, or ethnic origin, sex, Vietnam Era Veteran and/or disability status by job category and level.
ZONE SCORING: A scoring technique which divides candidates into a small number of groups, with all candidates within a group assigned the same score also known as block, band or category scoring.
N.B. Of course, this is meant as information and not legal advice so please check with your HR department or legal counsel to see how theses ideas and concepts apply to your circumstances.