Adverse (or Disparate) Impact: a term used to describe a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, transfer, training or in other employment decisions which works to the disadvantage of the members of the protected group or gender.

Adverse (or Disparate or Differential) Treatment: a theory of discrimination in which an individual is treated less favorably than his/her similarly situated peers because of gender, race, etc.

Affected Class: one or more employees, former employees, or applicants who have been denied employment benefits because of discriminatory practices and/or policies by an employer, its employees or agents. Evidence of the existence of an affected class requires: (1) identification of the discriminatory practices; (2) identification of the effects of discrimination; and (3) identification of those suffering from the effects of discrimination.

Affirmative Action: a set of specific and result-oriented procedures to which an employer makes a commitment to apply a good faith effort for achievement of established goals. Specifically, any program, practice, or activity, which is designed to:

  • remove artificial barriers to the employment of any protected group or category of persons;
  • eliminate non-job related personnel practices or to increase the job relatedness of current personnel practices; and or
  • enhance the opportunities of subparity groups to compete for employment within the organization.

Affirmative Action Plans: define an employer's standard for proactively recruiting, hiring and promoting women, minorities, disabled individuals and veterans.

Availability: an estimate of the percentage of minorities and women in the relevant labor market who are qualified and interested in positions during the term of the affirmative action program.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ): refers to a specific set of characteristics that are reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the employer's business or the performance of a particular job in certain limited cases. Such characteristics may include gender, religion, or national origin/ancestry if such characteristics and/or qualifications are necessary to perform the job. In utilizing BFOQ's, the burden of proof falls on the employer to show that such qualifications are reasonable and necessary.

Disability: any physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life functions, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, learning, or working. This term includes but is not limited to such diseases or conditions as visual and orthopedic impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, retardation, and specific learning disabilities, such as perceptual disabilities, dyslexia, minimal brain dysfunction, developmental aphasia and others.

Discrimination: an act that is committed on the basis of prejudice or bias. Employment discrimination generally refers to any employment practice or decision that intentionally or unintentionally results in the unequal treatment of an individual or group on a basis other than job-related reasons (see Unlawful Discrimination).

Equal Employment Opportunity: refers to a body of laws which requires all employers to allow all persons to work and advance on the basis of merit, ability, and potential without regard to race, color, religion, national origin/ancestry, age (40 and above), marital status, gender, disability, disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, certain medical conditions, sexual orientation or other unalterable condition.

Ethnic Group: individuals classed according to common traits, traditions, and customs. The ethnic group which most closely reflects the individual's recognition in his/or her community should be used for reporting purposes.

Good Faith Efforts: Specific actions taken by an employer to meet affirmative action goals or deliver a successful affirmative action program.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment: a form of sexual harassment that is caused by conduct that unreasonably interferes with the victim's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. The atmosphere or “environment” can be tainted by unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, even though the behavior may not be directly linked to the giving or withdrawal of a tangible job benefit.

Job Group: a group of job titles categorized together based on similar job content, experience, preparation, wage rates, and promotional opportunities.

Labor Force: the US Department of Commerce generally defines the civilian labor force as all civilians 16 years old and over who were employed at the time of the Census, or who were unemployed but looking for work, or available to accept a job.

Minority: those people who are protected by State and Federal law as a member of the following groups: Black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Occupational Category: that title applied to a group of job classifications used to standardize an employer's method of determining and reporting the representational level of the employee groups within divisions and departments.

Protected Class: Classes or groups of people protected by the Federal and State Equal Opportunity Laws.

Protected Categories: Age, Ancestry, Color, Genetic Information, Marital Status, Medical Condition (including Cancer & HIV / AIDS), Military & Veteran Status, National Origin, Physical or Mental Disability (Actual & Perceived), Race, Religion, Sex (including gender, gender identity & pregnancy), Sexual Orientation.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: (Latin, meaning “this for that”) Harassment that occurs when specific employment benefits (like a job, a promotion, preferred work assignment, etc.) are promised or withheld as a means of coercing sexual favors.

Reasonable Accommodation: an adaptation or adjustment made by an employer which enables an individual to perform the job. An accommodation is reasonable if it does not impose an undue hardship on the employer's business. An employer is expected to make a reasonable effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities as well as those whose religious beliefs would otherwise prohibit them from performing the duties of the job. Reasonable accommodation can include, but is not limited to changing the job duties, changing the work shift, accommodating to schedules, relocating the work area, and providing mechanical and electric aids. The law requires a good faith dialogue between the employee and the employer to determine an appropriate accommodation. The employer is not required to provide the exact accommodation requested by the employee, to create a new job, or lessen the standards for performance of a job.

Retaliation: an employment practice that intentionally discriminates against an individual because of his/her assertion of equal employment opportunity rights or because of his/her participation in the equal employment opportunity process.

Sexual Harassment: unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Subparity Group: any protected group having significantly lower representation in a particular occupational category or job classification than its level of availability.

Systemic Discrimination: employment policies or practices that serve to differentiate or to perpetuate a differentiation in terms or conditions of employment of applicants or employees because of their status as members of a particular group. Such policies or practices may or may not be facially neutral, and intent to discriminate may or may not be involved. Systemic discrimination, sometimes called class discrimination or a pattern and practice of discrimination, concerns recurring practices or continuing policy rather than an isolated act of discrimination.

Targeted Recruitment: Efforts in recruitment specifically targeted to attract qualified applicants from identified underutilized groups, such as mailings to minority organizations.

Unlawful Discrimination: an act that is committed on the basis of prejudice or bias, which generally refers to any employment practice or decision which intentionally or unintentionally results in the unequal treatment of an individual or group on a basis their protected status (i.e. age, physical abilities/qualities, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation).

Underrepresented: having fewer protected class employees in a job classification than would be reasonably expected by their availability in the relevant labor force.

Underutilization: Underutilization occurs when the percentage of employees in a protected group (women or minorities) is less than the availability percentage for that protected group. Underutilization is calculated for employees in each job group. The declaration of underutilization does not amount to an admission of impermissible conduct. It is neither a finding of discrimination nor a finding of a lack of good faith affirmative action efforts. Rather, underutilization is a technical targeting term used exclusively by affirmative action planners who seek to apply good faith efforts to increase in the future the percentage of utilization of minorities and women in a work force.

Utilization Analysis: A comparison of the percentage of minority or women employees actually in a job group with the percentage of minorities and women in the relevant labor market.