What Is An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)?

Affirmative Action Plan

An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is a written document that outlines an organization's policies, practices, and procedures designed to promote equal employment opportunity and foster diversity in the workplace. AAPs are required for certain federal contractors and subcontractors under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

Purpose of an AAP

The primary objectives of an Affirmative Action Plan are to:

  • Identify and eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunity
  • Remedy past discrimination and prevent future discrimination
  • Ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to compete for jobs and advance in their careers
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the available labor pool

Components of an AAP

A typical Affirmative Action Plan includes the following elements:

Organizational Profile:

  • Workforce analysis by job group and protected class (race, gender, disability, veteran status)
  • Identification of underrepresentation of protected groups
  • Establishment of placement goals to address underrepresentation

Job Group Analysis:

  • Grouping of job titles with similar content, wage rates, and opportunities
  • Determination of availability of qualified individuals in each job group by protected class

Placement Goals:

  • Establishment of target representation levels for underrepresented groups in each job group
  • Goals serve as benchmarks for measuring progress, not as rigid quotas

Action-Oriented Programs:

  • Specific, measurable steps to address underrepresentation and achieve placement goals
  • Examples include targeted recruitment, training and development, mentoring, and community outreach

Internal Audit and Reporting System:

  • Periodic review of personnel activities (e.g., applicant flow, hires, promotions, terminations) to identify potential adverse impact
  • Analysis of selection processes to ensure job-relatedness and validity
  • Record-keeping and reporting to measure progress and comply with regulatory requirements

Developing and Implementing an AAP:

  • Conduct a thorough workforce analysis to identify areas of underrepresentation.
  • Set realistic, attainable placement goals based on availability data and workforce analysis.
  • Develop action-oriented programs to address barriers and achieve goals.
  • Communicate the AAP to all employees and stakeholders, emphasizing the organization's commitment to equal opportunity and diversity.
  • Train managers and employees on their roles and responsibilities under the AAP.
  • Monitor progress regularly and adjust strategies as needed.
  • Conduct annual updates to the AAP to reflect changes in the workforce and labor market.

Benefits of an Effective AAP

  • Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
  • Enhanced diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Improved employee morale and engagement
  • Access to a wider pool of qualified candidates
  • Strengthened reputation as an equal-opportunity employer
  • Potential advantages in securing government contracts

Challenges and Considerations:

  • Ensuring accurate and comprehensive data collection and analysis
  • Balancing the need for affirmative action with the prohibition on discrimination
  • Addressing potential resistance or backlash from employees or stakeholders
  • Allocating sufficient resources and leadership support for effective implementation
  • Navigating complex and evolving legal and regulatory landscapes