Mobile Menu

Search

IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE CRISIS, CALL 911.   Report an Incident

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Affirmative Action FAQs

What is the difference between equal employment opportunity and affirmative action?

Equal employment opportunity prohibits discrimination against anyone. Its primary objective is to ensure that all applicants and employees, regardless of their protected characteristics (color, race, religion, sex, etc.) have a fair opportunity in the hiring process and in competing for promotions and have equal access to educational training and professional development opportunities. Equal employment opportunity is a passive principle which requires only fairness in treatment. Affirmative action goes beyond non-discrimination. Whereas equal opportunity is passive, affirmative action is positive, constructive action. The general premise underlying affirmative action is that absent discrimination, over time an employer's workforce, generally, will reflect the gender, racial, and national origin/ethnicity profile of the labor pools from which the employer recruits and hires its employees. Affirmative action attempts to compensate for past discriminatory practices by requiring federal contractors to engage in "good faith efforts" to expand outreach and recruitment of women, minorities, persons with disabilities and certain protected veterans, thereby making them aware of employment opportunities and providing access to be able to pursue such opportunities.

What is an Affirmative Action Plan?

An Affirmative Action Plan is a written document containing information and analyses of a federal contractor's workforce. The Affirmative Action Plan is comprised of four sections: the Utilization Analysis, the Workforce Analysis; the Goal and Timetables; and the Narrative. The first three sections include employee data, national census data and faculty availability data. This data is used to analyze the demographics of the University's workforce in relation to the demographics of qualified and available individuals in the relevant labor pool (local, regional, etc.). This data is used to determine what group(s) are underutilized in a given job group and to establish placement goals to address the underutilization. The plan's narrative details problem areas that may impede or limit opportunities in all job groups at all levels of the organization, as well as the University's commitment and efforts to remedy these inequities and remove barriers.

What is an Affirmative Action Program?

An Affirmative Action Program is a management tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity. It includes the policies, practices and procedures the University implements to address underutilization in its workforce and to ensure that all qualified applicants and employees receive an equal opportunity for recruitment, retention, selection, advancement, training, development and every other condition and privilege of employment.

For whom is affirmative action taken?

The University must undertake affirmative action for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and covered veterans. The analyses in an Affirmative Action Plan, however, cover only minorities and women.

Does affirmative action require quotas?

No, using quotas for employment decisions are illegal. Rather, an Affirmative Action Plan contains placement goals to assist the employer in addressing any existing underutilization of women and minorities in its workforce.

What is underutilization?

Underutilization exists when fewer women and minorities are employed in job groups than would be expected, given their availability (with the requisite skills to perform the job) in the relevant labor pools.

What constitutes "good faith effort" to address underutilization?

Federal contractors must: identify and remove barriers that negatively affect underutilized groups; support inclusion through respect and equal dignity of all persons; review recruitment strategies to ensure focused outreach is occurring; ensure equal representation in all applicant pools for all job groups and at all levels in the organization; and put forth retention efforts and provide professional development opportunities for underutilized groups equal to the efforts and opportunities afforded others in the workforce. .

Does affirmative action require goals?

Yes, placement goals are required for women and minorities when underutilization exists. Placement goals are objectives which the employer works toward by applying good faith effort..

What happens if the University does not meet its placement goals?

While placement goals are important, the demonstration of a good faith effort to achieve those goals is more important. As a federal contractor, the University must be able to show that it has taken vigorous, active, measureable steps to ensure that qualified women and minorities are included in its applicant pools and be able to objectively demonstrate that the selection process was fair and consistent.

Does affirmative action require a federal contractor to hire a less-qualified applicant to meet a placement goal?

No, all employment decisions must be based on merit. Basing an employment action on race, national origin/ethnicity, sex, or anything other than qualifications is generally prohibited.


Demographic Information FAQs

As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer, the University is required to solicit demographic information from applicants, as well as faculty and staff. A variety of federal and state laws and regulations mandate the University to capture this information. Provision of this information is strictly voluntary and confidential. Electing not to provide this information will in no way subject you to adverse action. The following FAQ's contain additional information on the demographic areas for which you are asked to self-identify and how the data is used by the University.

Why does the University ask for my gender?

There are three primary reasons why the University requests gender information from job applicants, faculty, and staff. As the recipient of federal research funding, the University is a federal contractor and subject to Title 41 Part 60 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This regulation requires that the University collect gender information from job applicants, as well as all employed faculty and staff, in order to engage in affirmative action analysis of personnel processes, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, and terminations. In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, the University must annually report the gender of its faculty and staff to the U.S. Department of Education through the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As an institution of higher education, this report is comparable to reports made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) via the EEO-1 survey. The University, as an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is subject to various state policies and regulations, which require the University to collect and maintain gender information. Voluntary provision of gender information by individuals is the most preferred method for obtaining this data. However, it is important to note that the above-referenced federal and state record keeping obligations require the University to obtain gender information even when an individual refuses to self-identify. In such situations, the University will seek to obtain the required information from other employment records and/or visual identification. These practices are in alignment with the EEOC Guidance.

Why does the University ask for my race/ethnicity?

Race/Ethnicity data must be collected in the categories identified by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The U.S. Department of Education Integrated Post-secondary Data System (IPEDS) maintains a website outlining the categories. There are three primary reasons why the University requests race/ethnicity information from job applicants, faculty and staff. As the recipient of federal research funding, the University is a federal contractor and subject to Title 40 Part 60 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This regulation requires that the University collect race/ethnicity information from applicants, as well as all employed faculty and staff, in order to engage in affirmative action analysis of personnel processes, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, and terminations. In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, the University must annually report race/ethnicity of its faculty and staff to the U.S. Department of Education through the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As an institution of higher education, this report is comparable to reports made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) via the EEO-1 survey. The University, as an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is subject to the various state policies and regulations which require the University to collect and maintain race/ethnicity information. Voluntary provision of race/ethnicity by individuals is the most preferred method for obtaining this data. However, it is important to note that the above-referenced federal and state record keeping obligations require the University to obtain race/ethnicity information even when an individual refuses to self-identify. In such situations, the University will seek to obtain the required information from other employment records and/or visual identification. These practices are in alignment with EEOC Guidance.

Why does the University ask for my veteran and protected veteran status?

There are three primary reasons why the University requests veteran and protected veteran status information from job applicants, faculty and staff. Section 2.2-2903 of the Code of Virginia establishes a veteran preference in hiring, which means that the University must request this information from job applicants in order to apply a preference. The preference applies to any veteran who has served at least 180 consecutive days in any branch of the arm services and received an other than dishonorable discharge. The surviving spouse and/or child of a U.S. military service member killed in the line of duty is also eligible for the preference. As the recipient of federal research funding, the University is a federal contractor and subject to the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and its implementing regulations found in Title 41 Part 60-250 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This regulation requires that the University collect "protected" veteran status information from applicants, as well as faculty and staff, in order to engage in affirmative action analysis of personnel processes, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, and terminations. A "protected" veteran is a disabled veteran, a recently separated veteran, an Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge veteran, or an Armed Forces Service Medal veteran. Protected veterans are a smaller subset of the overall military veteran population. The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) requires, in accordance with Title 41 Park 60-250 of the CFR, federal contractors to annually report on their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans.

Why does the University ask for my disability status?

As the recipient of federal research funding, the University is a federal contractor and subject to Title 41 Part 60-741 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This regulation requires that the University collect disability information from applicants, as well as employed faculty and staff, in order to engage in affirmative action analysis of personnel processes such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, and terminations. Additional information is available on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) website.

Who sees my demographic information and how is it used?

Demographic information is treated confidentially to the extent permitted by federal and state laws. Job Applicants: Demographic information collected in the applicant/candidate profile portion of the online application is maintained separately from the application materials that are reviewed during the hiring process. Hiring officials and search committee members do not have access to individually identified demographic data at any time during or after the recruitment and hiring processes. The only exception is veteran status, which is accessible for the sole purpose of applying the Virginia Veteran Preference in accordance with Section 2.2-2903 of the Code of Virginia. Faculty & Staff: Demographic information is similarly maintained confidentially and is not accessible by management or supervisory personnel. Reporting: In keeping with the confidential nature of this information, whenever the University reports on demographic data of University faculty, staff, and job applicants - either internally or externally - the information is produced in the aggregate and de-identified from individuals. The University is committed to equal opportunity and affirmative action. To fulfill this commitment, the University administers its programs, procedures, and practices without regard to age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information and operates both affirmative action and equal opportunity programs consistent with resolutions of the Board of Visitors and with federal and state requirements, including the Governor's Executive Order Number One (2014). Your provision of demographic data allows the University to engage in critical analysis of the workforce and personnel processes that are crucial to the fulfillment of our goals of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.