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Key Terms

 Key Terms in Employment Equity and Affirmative Action


To ensure fairness and equity during the recruitment and hiring process, managers and hiring officials need to understand the meaning and the application of certain terms. The most important of these terms are:


Equal Employment Opportunity is the right of all persons to be considered fairly based upon their ability to perform the requirements of the job.


Affirmative Action is a process for addressing areas of gender, racial and ethnic underutilization in an employer's applicant pool and workforce. Affirmative action also requires vigorous recruitment and outreach (good faith efforts) be taken to ensure equal opportunity for employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities.


Diversity means the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines.


Placement Goals establish objectives for hiring and promoting based on the availability of qualified applicants in the job market and in the employer's workforce. Placement goals are not quotas.


Underutilization exists when there are fewer minorities or women in a job group than would reasonably be expected given their availability (with the requisite skills to perform the job) in the relevant recruitment area. Good faith efforts are required to diversify the applicant pool.


Good Faith Efforts are consistent, measurable, positive actions taken by a federal contractor to include minorities and/or women who are substantially underrepresented or have been historically excluded from employment opportunities. As a federal contractor, UVA is required to engage in vigorous outreach to broaden the pool of qualified applicants to include minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans.


Key Terms in Employment Equity and Affirmative Action (pdf)