Rights Follow "Protected Status?"
the following fact situations and decide if the employer acted legally.
employer announces publicly that it will promote the hiring of
a diverse workforce. Based upon this policy, a hiring committee
decides to use ethnicity as a "plus" factor in its selection
process and - between two equally qualified applicants - selects
a minority candidate over a Caucasian candidate. The committee
chairman believes this is permissible because the minority candidate
is a member of a "protected group."
employer's affirmative action plan, which is submitted each year
to the Federal government, reveals that females are "underutilized"
in its maintenance and operations department as compared with
the percentage of females in the workforce. Based upon this data,
the director announces that he will fill the next available position
with a female.
Because an employer wishes to hire a diverse workforce, it advertises
all vacant positions in newspapers targeting minority groups and
recruits each year at colleges enrolling large minority populations.
The employer hopes these practices will encourage qualified minority
candidates to apply for vacant positions.
one of these situations (the advertising and recruiting example)
complies with State and Federal law. Although most people understand
the law prohibits a hiring preference for say, white males, some
people believe the law condones hiring preferences based upon inclusion
in a "protected group" such as a racial or ethnic minority
group. Although the United States Supreme Court recently held that
educational institutions may use race or ethnicity as one factor
in college admissions, this decision does not apply to employment
actions, including hiring.
Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964, an individual establishes
an unlawful employment practice when direct or circumstantial evidence
demonstrates that "race, color, religion, sex or national origin
was a motivating factor for any employment practice, even though
other factors also motivated the practice." 42 U.S.C. §
means an employer may not base a hiring or other employment decision
on a factor such as race or ethnicity, even if that is only one
of several factors considered in making the decision. Regardless
of a candidate's inclusion in a "protected group" employers
must hire the most qualified candidate to fill a position.
Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) seeks to promote
diversity in its workforce. MCCCD complies with Title VII by actively
recruiting minority candidates to apply for vacant positions and
advertising vacant positions in publications targeted at minority
populations. These practices will result in an increase in the number
of qualified minority candidates who apply for MCCCD positions and
will ultimately result in a more diverse workforce.
you have any questions regarding the legality of an employment practice,
call the Legal Department. We will help you reach MCCCD's goals
within the requirements of Title VII.
in the Winter 2004 Edition of In Brief