Equal Opportunity Terms
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The ability of an individual with a disability to approach, enter, and use an employer's
facilities such as reception areas, employment offices, and the actual job site. Referred
to in Section 503 of the Handicapped Regulations.
The selection of protected-class members at a rate lower than that of other groups.
A selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths
(4/5 or 80%) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded
by the enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact.
Employees, former employees, or applicants who have been denied employment opportunities
or benefits of discriminatory practices and/or policies of the employer. Evidence
of the existence of an affected class require identification of the discriminatory
practices, identification of the effects of the discrimination, and identification
of those suffering from the effects of the discrimination.
Positive steps taken by an employer which contribute toward greater employment opportunities
for minorities, females, the elderly, and the disabled. In federal employment, extra
effort must be made to include qualified women, minorities, employees over 40, and
the disabled at grade levels and in job categories where they are under represented.
Affirmative Action Plans/Affirmative Employment Plan
Written plans for programs required by Executive Order 11478 and other laws and regulations.
AAP's may contain studies which show how the work force at the activity has been used,
and may include goals and timetables for increasing the representation of protected
class members in those areas where they have been under represented.
If the utilization analysis shows underutilization of women or minorities in certain
job groups, then special recruitment efforts must be mounted to make certain that
these protected-class members are well represented in applicant pools for positions
which have been historically underutilized. It may include special overt or outreach
recruitment efforts at job fairs, special advertising campaigns in minority and women's
media, special contacts to organizations which promote placement of minorities and
A claim of discrimination based on age by an individual who is at least 40 years of
age at the time of the alleged discriminatory act.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
A federal law prohibiting age discrimination by employers of 20 or more employees
against people over age 40, except where age is a bona fide occupational qualification
or where the person is in a certain key executive or policy-making position and his
or her retirement pension will be in excess of $44,000 per year. Such employees may
be required to retire at age 65.
A person who believes that he/she has been discriminated against in some way and makes
his/her concerns known.
Allegation of Reprisal
A claim of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or retaliation in connection
with presenting or processing a complaint or because of any opposition to an employment
practice made unlawful under Title 29 CFR part 1614.
American Indian or Alaska Native
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America
(including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation
or community attachment.
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast
Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India,
Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
A person with origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa who is not of Hispanic
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)
Employment in particular jobs may not be limited to individuals of a particular sex,
religion, or national origin unless the employer can show that one of these factors
is an actual and necessary qualification for performing the job. This concept is interpreted
very narrowly by the EEOC. While age may be considered a BFOQ under the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (for public safety workers, airline pilots, etc.) race is never
Burden of Proof
For purposes of definition in this workbook, the term often refers to the burden placed
on an employer to present a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its employment
action once a member of a protected class shows that he or she has been subject to
an adverse employment decision, despite being qualified.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Federal statutes and executive orders are broad, general statements of law. Federal
regulations, on the other hand, fill in the details. For example, Executive Order
11246 requires federal contractors to take affirmative action. The federal regulations
issued under that executive order specify exactly how the contractor should do that.
The degree to which federal contractors or subcontractors carry out the goals and
commitments in their affirmative action plans or the nondiscrimination clauses in
Complainant (Person bringing the concern)
An employee, a former employee, or an applicant for employment who files a formal
complaint of discrimination based on his/her race, color, religion, sex, national
origin, age (40), physical or mental disability and/or reprisal.
Correction of deficiencies identified during a compliance review of an affirmative
action plan. The term is used in deficiency letters, conciliation agreements, and
The distinctive body of customs, knowledge, beliefs, and morals, laws, habits, and
social institutions that characterize each separate society.
A physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life
activities or major bodily functions. Impairments include any psychological disorder
or condition, cosmetic disfigurement or anatomical loss affecting one or more systems
of the body or any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic
brain syndrome, emotional illnesses, & learning disabilities.
Any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one
or more of his or her major life activities, (2) has a record of such impairment,
or (3) is regarded as having such impairment. A disability is substantially limiting
if it is likely to cause difficulty in securing, retaining, or advancing employment.
A person entitled to compensation under laws administered by the Veterans Administration
for disability rated at 30% or more, or a person whose discharge or release from active
duty was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
Any act or failure to act, impermissibly based in whole or in part on a person's race,
color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental handicap, and/or reprisal,
that adversely affects privileges, benefits, working conditions, results in disparate
treatment, or had a disparate impact on employees or applicants.
Under EEO law, less favorable effect for one group than for another. Disparate impact
results when rules applied to all employees have a different and more inhibiting effect
on women and minority groups than on the majority. For example, nonessential educational
requirements for certain jobs can have a disparate impact on minority groups looking
for work, as they often been limited in their access to educational opportunities.
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.
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
Inconsistent application of rules and policies to one group of people over another.
Discrimination may result when rules and policies are applied differently to members
of protected classes. Disciplining Hispanic and Afro-American employees for tardiness,
while ignoring tardiness among other employees, is an example of disparate treatment.
Such inconsistent application of rules often leads to complaints.
A broad concept that values all people equally, regardless of their differences.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The goal of laws which make some types of discrimination in employment illegal. Equal
employment opportunity will become a reality when each U.S. citizen has an equal chance
to enjoy the benefits of employment. EEO is not a guarantee of employment for anyone.
Under EEO law, only job related factors can be used to determine if an individual
is qualified for a particular job. Ideally, EEO laws and Affirmative Action programs
combine to achieve equal employment opportunities. See EEO law, Affirmative Action,
and Affirmative Action Plan/Affirmative Employment Plan.
Five laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex,
national origin, physical handicap and mental handicap in any terms, conditions, or
privileges of employment. The five EEO laws are:
Equal Employment Opportunity
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Act of 1972 and the Pregnancy Disability Act of 1978.
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
A system of employment practices under which no individuals are excluded from consideration,
participation, promotion, or benefits because of their race, color, religion, sex,
national origin, age, handicap, or veteran status. The purpose of affirmative action
is to achieve equal employment opportunity.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The federal government agency designated to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
of 1967. The Commission has five members, all appointed to a five-year term by the
president with the advice and approval of Congress.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
A federal law that requires equal pay for males and females in jobs requiring equal
skills, efforts, and responsibility.
A group identified on the basis of religion, color, or national origin.
A regulation promulgated by the president that has the effect of law on those governmental
matters with which it deals.
Executive Orders 11246, 11375, and 12086
These orders require federal contractors with contracts of $10,000 or more to agree
to grant equal employment opportunity on the basis of race, color, religion, sex,
and national origin. Additionally, the orders require those who employ 50 or more
employees and who hold contracts of $50,000 or more to develop written affirmative
Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA)
A state or local government agency which administers state or local laws, regulations,
or ordinances prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sex, minority
status, and other prohibited factors. Sometimes called the fair housing and employment
agency or the state human relations commission where jurisdictions go beyond the employment
A group of people who share a common religion, color, or national origin. Irish-Americans,
Mexican-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews
are examples of ethnic groups. Some members of ethnic groups participate in the customs
and practices of their groups, while others do not. Discrimination based on these
customs and practices may be illegal under EEO law. See Minority.
A written complaint alleging that a specific act of discrimination or reprisal/retaliation
has/have taken place.
Those actions that the contractor may voluntarily develop to achieve compliance with
the contract's equal opportunity and affirmative action clauses. The results of these
efforts are measured by the contractor's degree of adherence to goals and timetables.
Good-faith efforts may excuse a contractor from failing to meet a goal or save the
employer from sanctions.
Griggs v. Duke Power Co.
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1971 which determined that employment
tests or qualifications which screen out minorities or women at a higher rate than
other candidates cannot be used unless the employer proves that such a selection method
is related to the job for which it is used. Such proof must be in the form of a validation
The presentation of such oral and written evidence concerning a complaint of discrimination
presented before the EEOC.
Hispanic or Latino
A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish
culture or origin, regardless of race.
A matter of alleged discrimination which an aggrieved person brings to the attention
of the OEO Director before a formal discrimination complaint is filed.
A written statement detailing the responsibilities and duties of incumbents in a particular
One or more positions having similar content, wage rates, and opportunities.
The education, work experience, and other abilities required for a job.
All persons in the civilian labor force, plus members of the armed forces.
Labor Force Participation
The rate at which a given group (usually referring to protected class groups) is represented
in the civilian labor force.
Job Related or Essential Job Function
Essential to job performance. The knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience necessary
to perform a particular job. Tests are job related if they test whether an applicant
or employee can perform the job in question. A rule or practice is job related if
it is necessary for the safe and efficient performance of a particular job. For example,
a rule prohibiting employees from wearing loose, flowing clothing around high speed
rotating equipment is job related. However, the same rule applied in an office with
no rotating equipment is not job related, and may have a disparate impact on some
The smaller part of a group. A group within a country or state that differs in race,
religion or national origin from the dominant group. According to EEOC guidelines,
minority is used to mean four particular groups who share a race, color or national
These groups are:
- American Indian or Alaskan Native. A person having origins in any of the original
peoples of North America, and who maintain their culture through a tribe or community.
- Asian or Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original people of
the Far East, Southeast Asia, India, or the Pacific Islands. These areas include,
for example, China, India, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.
- Black (except Hispanic). A person having origins in any of the black racial groups
- Hispanic. A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or
other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
- The many peoples with origins in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East make up
the dominant white population. Of course, many more minority groups can be identified
in the American population. However, they are not classified separately as minorities
under EEO law. It should be noted that women are not classified as a minority. However,
they have experienced the same kind of systematic exclusion from the economy as the
various minorities. Thus, they are considered as having "minority status" as far as
the law is concerned.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or
other Pacific Islands.
A target number of qualified women and minorities hired and advanced within a given
period of time through an Affirmative Action Program. A numerical goal is not a quota,
as it may not be reached within the time frame. It does not permit the hiring or advancement
of unqualified employees. Numerical goals provide a standard which allows an activity to measure
the effectiveness of its Affirmative Action Program. When numerical goals are reached,
the percent of women and minority group members working at appropriate grade levels
and classifications will be closer to their percentage in the labor market.
This Latin term translates as "on first view", or "at first appearance." Complainants
present evidence and arguments to support a claim of discrimination. If those arguments
cannot be rebutted with additional evidence, the claim will be supported by the court
within further argument. Thus, a prima facie case is established. In the EEO area,
statistics of under utilization have been sufficient to make a prima facie case for
The groups protected from the employment discrimination by law. These groups include
men and women on the basis of sex; any group which shares a common race, religion,
color, or national origin; people over 40; and people with physical or mental handicaps.
Every U.S. citizen is a member of some protected class, and is entitled to the benefits
of EEO law. However, the EEO laws were passed to correct a history of unfavorable
treatment of women and minority group members.
National Voter Registration Act of 1993
Also known as the "Motor Voter Act," makes it easier for all Americans to exercise
their fundamental right to vote. One of the basic purposes of the Act is to increase
the historically low registration rates of minorities and persons with disabilities
that have resulted from discrimination. The Motor Voter Act requires all offices of
State-funded programs that are primarily engaged in providing services to persons
with disabilities to provide all program applicants with voter registration forms,
to assist them in completing the forms, and to transmit completed forms to the appropriate
This is the failure to follow the conditions specified in a contract's equal opportunity
or affirmative action clauses and the regulations applicable to those clauses.
A clause required in federal contracts with suppliers in which the supplier commits
to take affirmative action in employment, upgrading, transfer, promotion, demotion,
layoff, termination, and training.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
An office within the U.S. Department of Labor which has the responsibility of administering
Executive Order 11246 and its implementing regulations.
The employment of women and minorities in various job groups at levels which approximate
the external availability of qualified members of those groups for those particular
A document used to advertise a position vacancy. Position announcements typically
contain a brief description of the position, title/rank, requisite and preferred qualifications
for the position, salary range, preferred start date, materials required for application,
the name and address of the primary contact (e.g., committee/department chair or secretary),
the date by which application materials should be received, and a statement regarding
the affirmative action/equal opportunity policy of the University.
A document which reflects the purpose, accountabilities, and duties of a job. Position
descriptions should be developed in consultation with the Human Resources department.
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national
origin or ancestry, age, religion or creed, disability, veteran status, and genetic
testing and screening. University policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis
or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Decisions covered by anti-discrimination laws. In employment law relates to terms
& conditions such as hiring, promotion, layoff / demotion/ termination, access to
training. In education includes access to educational programs, services/ activities,
admissions, academic evaluation & advancement, financial aide and athletics.
The period during which a female employee is unable to do the duties of the job because
of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employees in this situation
must be treated the same as those with disabilities caused by other medical conditions.
Protects against unauthorized use of personally identified data by any agency of the
federal government. The employee must consent to the release of the data.
A personnel action that results in a person moving to a job requiring higher skill
or talents and usually involving greater pay or title.
A group of people protected from employment discrimination under government regulations
and laws, specifically identified as women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians or Pacific Islanders,
American Indians or Alaskan Natives, people over age 40, the disabled as defined under
Section 503, and disabled veterans and Vietnam era veterans as defined under the Vietnam
Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act.
Qualified Disabled Individual/Veteran
A disabled individual/veteran who is capable of performing a particular job with reasonable
accommodation to his or her disability.
Fixed hiring and promotion rates based on race, sex, or other protected class standards
which must be met at all costs. In extreme cases, the courts have assigned quotas
to some employers who have continued to practice illegal discrimination. The agency
or any other employer cannot use quotas to meet their affirmative action goals unless
a court orders it. Quotas are considered discriminatory against males and other non
Changes in the job or workplace that enable a disabled individual/veteran to perform
the duties as identified in his/her job description. Also refers to adjustments made
by an employer to accommodate an employee whose religious beliefs forbid working certain
days and hours.
A determination made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that there is
a basis to believe that a charge or complaint is true.
The area from which an employer can and does expect to recruit employees.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
A federal law that required contractors and subcontractors with contracts in excess
of $2,500 to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled
Relevant Labor Area
The labor market area from which candidates are usually drawn for certain jobs. This
may be a local area or a national market.
Includes all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief.
The means used to correct problem areas; a term used in conciliation agreements and
letters of commitment. The purpose of the remedial provisions of the Civil Rights
Act is to make whole the victims of discrimination.
The skills needed to do a job; those skills that make a person eligible for consideration
for employment in a job.
Any change in the work or classroom environment, in the way things are customarily
done, or in the application process that enables a person with a disability to enjoy
equal employment opportunities. The three general categories of reasonable accommodation
are changes to: (1) job application process to permit people with disabilities to
be considered for jobs; (2) enable people with disabilities to perform the essential
functions of a job; and (3) give people with disabilities equal access to the benefits
and privileges of employment.
Unlawful restraint, coercion or discrimination against complainants, their representatives,
witnesses, OEO Staff, and other institutional officials with responsibility for processing
Respondent - person demonstrating inappropriate behavior
The party against whom an appeal or motion, an application for a courtorder, is instituted and who is required to answer in order to protect his or her interests.
The proportion of applicants or candidates who are hired, promoted, or otherwise selected.
Discriminatory or disparate treatment of an individual because of his or her sex.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical
conduct of a sexual nature based on one or more of the following conditions a) Submission
to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an
individual's employment b) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual
is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual c) Such conduct
has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance
or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
The degree an impairment affects employability or significantly restricts an individual’s
ability to perform a major life activity which can be performed by the average person
in the general population.
Specific efforts to recruit underutilized affected groups.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
These words encompass all aspects of an employee's relationship with an employer.
Inadequately represented in the work force of a particular activity. This term is
used to describe the extent to which women and minorities are represented in particular
grade levels and job categories. The percentage of women and minorities in the labor
market is used as a standard to determine under representation. For example, suppose
there are 100 GS-12's at an agency; three of them or 3% are black. However, the black
labor market for GS-12 positions at that particular activity is 15%. In this case,
blacks are under represented at the GS -12 level.
Fewer women or minorities in a job group than their proportion in the contractor's
To use less than fully; below potential use. This term is often applied to categories
of employees who are working at jobs that do not make use of their skills and abilities,
although they may have been hired for those skills and abilities. When an employee
is consistently assigned to "dead end" jobs, he or she may be under utilized because
they are often seen as able to perform only limited tasks.
Having fewer women or minorities in the employer's workforce than could reasonably
be expected based on their availability in the labor area.
In order for an employer to be able to refuse an employee's request for accommodation
because of disability or religious beliefs, the employer must be able to prove that
the accommodation would cause undue hardship. Undue hardship is measured in terms
of business necessity and financial cost and expenses.
Undue Hardship/ Undue Burden
An accommodation that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would
fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the organization.
The comparison of the number of minorities and women in the employer's workforce and
the jobs that they occupy, to the availability of minorities and women in the contractor's
labor area, and, in the case of promotional jobs, those promotable employees in the
contractor's own workforce.
Vietnam Era Veteran
A person who served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days, and was discharged
or released with other than a dishonorable discharge, if any part of the person's
active duty occurred in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May
7, 1975 or between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975, in all other cases; or was discharged
or released from active duty for a service-connected disability if any part of the
person's active duty was performed in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28,
1961 and May 7, 1975 or between August 5, 1965 and May 7, 1975, in all other cases.
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East,
or North Africa.
Total employees by race, sex, job group, salary, and department.
Major federal laws covering affirmative action, equal opportunity, discrimination
and harassment include:
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Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967(ADEA)
Protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission is the law enforcement agency charged with enforcing the ADEA.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
Protects people from discrimination based on age in programs or activities receiving
Federal financial assistance. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is
the law enforcement agency charged with enforcing ADA of 1975.
Civil Rights Act of 1991(CRA)
Provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. The U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the law enforcement agency charged with
enforcing the CRA of 1991.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment
from sex-based wage discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
is the law enforcement agency charged with enforcing the EPA.
Executive Order 11246
Requires certain government contractors to engage in affirmative action and to not
discriminate based on race, sex, or national origin. The Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Programs (U.S. Department of Labor) is the agency charged with enforcing
the EO11246 and ensuring that federal contractors are in compliance.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Protects people from discrimination in admission, employment, treatment or access
based on disability in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.
The Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education), is the law enforcement
agency charged with enforcing Title VI.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities
by employers with 15 or more employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
and the Office for Civil Rights are the agencies assigned to enforce Title I of the
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Prohibits disability discrimination by public entities, including public colleges
and universities whether or not they receive Federal financial assistance. The Office
for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education), is the law enforcement agency charged
with enforcing Title II of the ADA.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program
or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Programs and activities that receive
Federal financial assistance from the United States Department of Education are covered
by Title VI. The Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education), is the law
enforcement agency charged with enforcing Title VI.
A federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color,
religion, sex, or national origin. It applies to all employers of 15 or more employees,
regardless of whether or not they are federal contractors.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin
and religion. It also is unlawful under the Act for an employer to take retaliatory
action against any individual for opposing employment practices made unlawful by Title
VII or for filing a discrimination charge or for testifying or assisting or participating
in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII. The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII against private employers and the
Employment Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice enforces
Title VII against state and local government employers.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities and
extends to employment and admission to institutions that receive Federal financial
assistance. The Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education), is the law
enforcement agency charged with enforcing Title IX.
Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA)
A federal law that requires firms holding federal contracts of subcontracts of $25,000
or more to take affirmative action to hire and advance covered veterans in employment.
VEVRAA covers all veterans who served on active duty during a war (World War II, Korea,
the Persian Gulf War, Somalia and Bosnia) or in a campaign or expedition for which
a campaign badge has been authorized.
NOTE: The Office of Equal Opportunity transitioned to the Office of Institutional Diversity,
Equity & Access effective July 1, 2013 and the website is located at: murraystate.edu/idea. All references within campus-wide documents to the Office of Equal Opportunity should
be considered analogous to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Access.