[MBA] Case Study: Are Affirmative Action Plan Goals Evidence of Discrimination?

[MBA] Case Study: Are Affirmative Action Plan Goals Evidence of Discrimination?

Xerox Corporation's Balanced Workforce Initiative (BWF) involved the publication of specific affirmative action goals for each job and each salary grade level within the company. This plan was started in the 1990s in an effort to ensure proportional representation of all racial and gender groups throughout the company. The BWFs were based on government labor force data and established annually. Part of the annual performance evaluation for managers was how well they met the desired racial and gender compositions for their locations. In one instance, reports compiled for the Houston office indicated that black employees were overrepresented and white employees were underrepresented. To correct this imbalance, over a period of five years, steps were taken to reduce the percentage of black employees in the office.

Six black employees filed suit against Xerox, stating that they were denied promotion opportunities even though they were qualified for the jobs into which they wanted to be promoted. They also indicated that they felt the BWF adversely affected their opportunity for advancement.

Answer the following questions by applying the concepts learned in Chapter 3. Please post the case study in as one MS Word document. Note: See template provided for case study paper. Also, conduct literature reviews on the subject of discussion and use to support your case study answers:

1. Based on the evidence presented, has discrimination occurred? If so, which type of discrimination (i.e., disparate treatment, disparate impact, both)? If you aren't sure, what questions would you want to have answered to make your determination?

2. Which party (plaintiffs or defendant) has the burden of proof in this case? What defense could Xerox offer if the plaintiffs make a case of discrimination? Discuss how successful you think the company will be at defending its actions.

3. Could Xerox have achieved the same goals in a less discriminatory manner? If so, how? If not, why not?

   Xerox Corporation is following government policies that is prepared from labor force data annually. On the course of obeying the rule Xerox management found that black employees are overrepresented there while white ones are less. This scenario might cause imbalance in workforce and need correction. So Xerox took steps to reduce black employees' promotion. Now black employees affected by the company's policy filed suit against Xerox because the company is treating differently.

Discrimination and Types

Based on the evidence the black employees are facing disparate impact discrimination. Disparate impact is the policy, practice and rules that seems neutral in nature but due to protection and/or reservation to one group, other group is feeling treated discriminately. On the other hand disparate treatment is direct differential behavior to one group of people based on race, gender, geographic and color. In the given case the company isn't intentionally discriminating blacks nor against the governmental policy. But keeping eye on participating whites on company equally behavior towards black seems to be less preferential.

Burden Of Proof

Once the case suit is prosecuted the proceeding requires defendant (company) to prove that the provision company obeying is not discriminatory. Because on the eye of court it seems that Xerox is following government policy properly during recruitment. When the company finds blacks protection caused more blacks being there than whites, so company without intention of discriminating blacks gives priority on white during promotion. This way of treatment is middle way for protecting whites count in the company. But when black employees are feeling they are discriminated and files a suit against Xerox and blacks provides the employee promotion history court is on their side, intention of company is not visible clearly because it is not written. So based on data court tries to decide towards black side. But now the ball is on Xerox's hand. Xerox have to prove their behavior is not discriminatory, they are not discriminating blacks, their intention is not to discriminate white and black but equal participation to both race. So Xerox should prove their non-discriminatory intention.

Alternative ways

While we run through the course materials and provided case, Xerox is not totally banning blacks' participation and recruitment but due to reservation from government policy the count of blacks on company is rising. The imbalance of workforce makes whites being discriminated and imbalance in workforce will cause whites feel being minority there. On long course of reservation there is obviously occurrence of such imbalance. So if government is not considering policy review, company cannot go against this policy during recruitment so the only choice Xerox could have is prioritize whites during promotion. The way it followed is not the only way of solution, but this technique will help blacks being recruited as per government policy and white get participation on management soon. Xerox company in the given case providing more opportunity to white is not that much discriminatory. White managing workforce such scenario is inevitable but what company should care is not to let the situation get worse by not boycotting either blacks or whites totally.



Workplace discrimination is the bitter truth that is hindering performance of individuals in organization. No, employee enjoy discrimination and continue working. But in some situation management should act discriminately that would uplift company quality of performance, social value on long run. In given case while obeying government made policies of reservation for black people, the company came in the situation where Black employees are far more than White ones and this ultimately brings Whites being minority. So company chose to prioritize Whites during promotion which is legal on aspect of company and White staffs too.



Dailyprincetonian.com,. (2015). Disparate impact, disparate treatment and multiculturalism - The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 13 September 2015, from http://dailyprincetonian.com/opinion/2015/03/disparate-impact-disparate-treatment-and-multiculturalism/

Lepak, D., & Gowan, M. (2010). Human resource management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Shrm.org,. (2015). EEO: General: What are disparate impact and disparate treatment?. Retrieved 13 September 2015, from http://www.shrm.org/templatestools/hrqa/pages/disparateimpactdisparatetreatment.aspx