Affirmative Action Plan FAQs


Frequently asked questions about Emory’s Affirmative Action Plan, a written compliance document that is used as a management tool to ensure equal employment opportunity.


The Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is mandated by Executive Order 11246, as Amended and is governed by the US Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

EO 11246 requires affirmative action and prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Contractors also are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.

The purpose of the AAP is to ensure that all qualified applicants and employees are receiving an equal opportunity for recruitment, selection, advancement, and every other term and privilege associated with employment.

The AAP is prepared annually, consisting of statistics and narratives for minorities and women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans.

Code of Federal Regulations 41 Section 60-2.10

Hiring goals are reasonably attainable flexible targets that we should aim to achieve by applying good faith efforts. Goals are established when the actual representation of women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities in a job group is less than would be reasonably expected based on internal and external labor market availability.

Goals measure progress toward achieving equal employment opportunity by comparing our incumbent workforce to peer and labor market data by disciplines and job types.

No. A quota is a fixed number or amount of people allocated to a position. Hiring goals are flexible targets we should aim to achieve. Hiring goals may not be used to supersede merit selection principles or as a justification for hiring a less qualified person in preference to a more qualified person.

Diversity has many meanings and includes individual (personality, learning styles, and thought and life experiences) and group/social differences (mental health status, political, religions/spirituality, race/ethnicity, gender, class, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, etc.)

Your diversity goals should be specific to your school/department. The affirmative action plan goals are institutional goals that may or may not impact your specific area. They might serve as a starting basis for building strategic diversity goals, but they are not one and the same.

Good faith efforts are specific actions taken and documented by an employer to meet affirmative action goals or deliver a successful affirmative action program. The goal is to extend our efforts to reach qualified, high-potential individuals who might not otherwise be considered for a position.

Examples of good faith efforts:

  • Make calls and send emails or letters to a wide range of contacts asking for potential candidates. Ask specifically if they have diverse candidates to recommend.
  • Make an effort to identify contacts who have diverse backgrounds or experiences. Such contacts may help you reach highly qualified minority or women candidates.
  • Make lists of professional meetings and professional societies for historically underrepresented groups and use them to recruit candidates.
  • Call potential candidates directly to encourage them to apply.
  • Go beyond typical outreach efforts and engage local networks of people in related fields at the university and/or related organizations and businesses (including African American and Hispanic–serving institutions) to see if they know of potential candidates.
  • Survey departments at other universities to see which of them have strong records in awarding PhDs to underrepresented individuals and contact them for names of candidates.
  • Have a discussion in a department meeting to brainstorm other active recruiting strategies and to discuss diversity as part of the educational mission.
  • Hold search committees and administrators accountable in carefully and fully considering the diversity criterion throughout the search and screen process.
  • Develop a contingency plan if the initial recruitment effort does not result in a sufficiently diverse pool.

The statistical estimate of the proportion and numbers of minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities available in the relevant job market who possess the training and skills necessary to qualify for employment. Availability analysis also involves a calculation of the percentage of minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities within the organization who are considered promotable, transferable, and trainable.

External sources include current Census data, the Association of American Universities, the Association of American Universities Data Exchange, and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) data.

As the fundamental unit of analysis in an affirmative action plan (and often as a subset of an EEO category), a job group is a collection of job titles with similar duties, content, compensation, or opportunity level.

Underrepresented minorities (URMs) normally includes African Americans, Hispanics, and sometimes American Indians/Native Americans. These groups are included because they historically describe a subset of the US population that holds a smaller percentage within a significant subgroup than the subset holds in the general population. Specific characteristics of an underrepresented group vary depending on the subgroup being considered. For example, underrepresented groups in computing, a subset of the STEM fields, include Hispanics and African-Americans only.

This term refers to groups who have been denied access and/or suffered past institutional discrimination in the United States and according to the Census and other federal measuring tools includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics or Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans. This is revealed by an imbalance in the representation of different groups in common pursuits such as education, jobs, and housing, resulting in marginalization for some groups and individuals and not for others relative to the number of individuals who are members of the population involved.

Other groups in the United States have been marginalized and are currently underrepresented. These groups may include but are not limited to other ethnicities; adult learners; veterans; people with disabilities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

These terms are used to describe a situation in which a lower number of protected-class employees are represented than would reasonably be expected given their availability in the relevant job market. Once underutilization is quantitatively established, an employer must (1) demonstrate that the underutilization results from business necessity or (2) develop an affirmative action plan with specific, action-oriented steps to overcome this underutilization.

A minority includes all racial/ethnic groups self-identifying as other than white. Minority also can be defined as a smaller part of a group, i.e., 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 origin.

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 of Africa.
  • 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 have various minority groups. Thus, women are considered to have “minority status” as far as the law is concerned.

Affirmative action is a federal agenda initiated in the 1960s that is designed to counteract historic discrimination faced by ethnic minorities, women, and other underrepresented groups. Institutions with affirmative action programs prioritize inclusion of minority groups in employment, retention, and promotion.

Adverse impact is a disparity in selection for hiring or promotion that disadvantages individuals of a particular race, sex, or ethnic group.

Emory is a federal contractor and is obligated to comply with federal laws and regulations regarding affirmative action. These obligations include:

  • Ensuring diverse pools of applicants for campus positions
  • Developing and maintaining affirmative action plans that identify areas of underutilization of minorities and women
  • Demonstrating good faith efforts to eliminate underutilization

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “person with a disability” is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, or concentrating. The documentation provided regarding the disability diagnosis must demonstrate a disability covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, amended as of 2008.

A veteran is a person who served in the United States Armed Forces during a period specified and was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances.