Affirmative Action Overview

Affirmative Action Overview

Understanding the Fundamentals

A Resource Guide is available to help develop a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Equal Employment Opportunity is

  • Consistent with MIT values
  • Focused on the premise that consideration for hiring and promotion is based on qualifications and merit
  • Required by law and makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status or genetic information
  • Makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace

Affirmative Action is

  • Providing equal employment opportunities for all individuals
  • A legal obligation for federal contractors such as MIT

An Affirmative Action program is

A strategic business tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity by

  • Taking proactive steps to attract, hire, promote, and retain protected groups
  • Ensuring equal pay for equal work
  • Monitoring the workforce to identify areas where protected classes are not fully represented or "utilized," and establishing Good Faith Efforts to move towards full representation

Affirmative Action Does Not

  • Create a quota system
  • Create preferences
  • Discriminate against non-minorities

Elements of the Affirmative Action Program

  • Documentation of policies, practices, and procedures in place to ensure that all qualified applicants and employees are receiving an equal opportunity for recruitment, selection, advancement, and every other aspect of their employment
  • Results of specified quantitative analysis
  • Identification of problem areas
  • Action-oriented programs

Key Concepts in the Affirmative Action Plan

Underutilization is

  • A condition in which women and minorities are not being employed at a rate that can be reasonably expected given their availability in the relevant labor pool

The Affirmative Action Plan includes specific action-oriented steps to address underutilization.

A Placement Rate Goal is

  • Established for job groups determined to be "underutilized"
  • A target that is reasonably attainable through the exercise of good faith efforts
  • Used to measure progress toward achieving equal employment opportunity
  • Not a finding nor an admission of discrimination
  • Expressed as a percentage placement rate rather than a number because the rate at which you do something is different from the number of times you do it

MIT, cannot under any circumstance, disclose the race/ethnicity of applicants, particularly to hiring managers because it is illegal to do so. MIT needs to be able to show that applicants were selected for interviews without regard to their race/ethnicity.

Implementing and monitoring the Affirmative Action Plan

MIT drives toward goals through

  • Development of school and area-specific action-oriented programs
  • Professional development
  • Mentoring
  • Fostering a climate of inclusion
  • Strategic diversity staffing

Departmental responsibilities

  • Provide equal access to training and advancement opportunities
  • Have regular performance discussions with staff
  • Recognize where "underutilization" exists in your area and implement steps to address it
  • Conduct meetings with managers to gain support and understanding of the Affirmative Action Plan objectives
  • Support positive outreach and recruitment efforts to provide a more diverse pool of applicants from which to choose
  • Prevent harassment of any kind in the workplace
  • Consult with your HRO in cases of discipline, termination, or layoff
  • Complete the Serious Search Plan and Report, if applicable

Shared responsibility

As members of the MIT community, we all share responsibility for assuring that, by our own actions:

  • Policies are applied uniformly
  • We respectfully interact with other members of the MIT community

Some portions of this site were used with permission from Thomas H. Nail, Thomas Houston Associates, Inc.