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Affirmative Action Programs

William & Mary is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity/equity, and diversity. The university strives to create a community of dignity and respect, where

  • all students and employees are valued,
  • minorities, women, and other protected classes are encouraged in employment,
  • diversity is embraced,
  • disabilities are accommodated,
  • harassment is prohibited, and
  • personnel actions are equitable and non-discriminatory.

The Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) required by federal law and regulation are part of William & Mary’s affirmative action, equal opportunity/equity, and diversity efforts.

William & Mary’s  Affirmative Action Plan for Minorities and Females is available upon request from the Offices of Compliance & Equity [[equity]] or Human Resources [[askhr]].  

William & Mary's Affirmative Action Plan for Veterans and People with Disabilities is available upon request from the Offices of Compliance & Equity [[equity]] or Human Resources [[askhr]]

William & Mary's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policy statement is available for review.  

Explanation of Affirmative Action Programs and Legal Obligations

William & Mary pursues affirmative action in employment, in accordance with federal law, specifically Executive Order 11246 and implementing regulations. In recruitment and retention efforts, W&M actively seeks to ensure equal opportunity and to improve opportunities for covered groups: minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities.  Our affirmative action work supports and is supported by our other diversity and equity programs.   

Executive Order 11246, as amended including by Executive Order 11375, prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin and requires them to take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunity. William & Mary is a federal contractor for purposes of the Executive Order and related Department of Labor regulations.  These regulations require William & Mary to have affirmative action programs for women and minorities and for persons with disabilities and certain veterans. 

These programs must be reviewed and the plans documenting the programs updated annually, and made available upon request to any employee or applicant for employment. 

The affirmative action regulations are enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, known as the OFCCP, which is part of the Department of Labor. 

Affirmative Action Program for Women and Minorities
OFCCP regulations found in Part 60-2 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires affirmative action programs for women and minorities.  The programs must include:
  1. Information about W&M’s current employees, including job title, sex, race, and ethnicity, and salary. 
  2. Job group analysis, where jobs with similar duties, wages and opportunities are grouped together for comparison purposes.  
  3. Percentages of minority and women employees each job group. 
  4. Estimates of the number of qualified minorities or women available for employment in a given job group, shown as a percentage.
  5. Placement goals – targets or objectives.  For example, a placement goal for a job group could be to increase the percentage minority incumbents (employees) to at least the percentage minority availability.  Placement goals may not be quotas or set-asides and may not supersede merit selection procedures or allow a less qualified person hired in preference to a more qualified one.    
  6. Designation of responsibility for the implementation of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action program. 
  7. Identification of problem areas – impediments to equal employment opportunity identified through in-depth analyses of total employment process, including compensation systems, terminations, hires, and other personnel actions.
  8. Action-oriented programs to correct problem areas and attain established goals and objectives
  9. Internal audit and reporting system.   

Under this system, William & Mary sets goals based on the available qualified minority or female workers in the relevant labor market (for example, the market for executive employees) and then must make a “good faith effort” to meet these goals within a timetable.

Federal affirmative action requirements not only have increased job opportunities for minorities and women but also have encouraged federal contractors to train their managers and supervisors in identifying and rectifying discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Much of the controversy surrounding affirmative action centers on the misconception that affirmative action demands “quotas”—requirements that an employer hire a pre-set number or percentage of a specific group regardless of the existence of more qualified applicants in other groups. However, the OFCCP regulations specifically prohibit the use of quotas, and failure to meet a numerical goal does not automatically result in sanctions for the employer.

OFCCP regulations also make clear that we cannot have racial or gender preferences in hiring.  We must make hiring decisions in a non-discriminatory manner. 

Affirmative Action Program for People with Disabilities and Covered Veterans

Department of Labor regulations found in Part 60-300 and 60-741 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires affirmative action programs for covered veterans and people with disabilities. 

Covered veterans are those protected by the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended (VEVRAA), and include

  • Disabled veterans ((1) a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or (2) a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability)
  • Recently separated veterans (any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service)
  • Active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans (a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, under the laws administered by the Department of Defense)
  • Armed Forces service medal veterans (any veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 FR 1209). 

These programs set forth the university’s policies and procedures that help ensure equal employment opportunity for covered veterans and people with disabilities:

  • An equal employment opportunity policy statement.
  • Review of personnel process to ensure that covered veterans and people with disabilities are carefully, thoroughly, and systematically considered for all job vacancies and for all training opportunities offered or available, and to ensure that physical and mental job qualifications either do not tend to screen out qualified covered veterans or people with disabilities, or, if they do, that they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
  • Reasonable accommodation (modification of job duties or conditions) for disabilities. 
  • Policies and procedures that protect employees from harassment and retaliation, and dissemination of such policies and procedures. 
  • Invitation to applicants and, for people with disabilities, employees to self-identify themselves as a covered veteran or person with a disability.
  • Outreach and recruitment efforts. 
  • Training. 
  • Recordkeeping. 
  • Audit and reporting systems. 
  • Data collection and analysis, showing the number of covered veterans and people with disabilities (as self-identified or otherwise known to be such), the total number of job openings and jobs filled, the total number of applicants for all jobs, the number of covered veteran applicants hired, and the total number of applicants hired.  (Note that these analyses do not need to be disclosed to applicants or employees.)
  • Hiring benchmarks for covered veterans, based either on national averages or on university-specific information.

The affirmative action regulations also set a utilization goal of 7% for employment of qualified individuals with disabilities for each job group.    

An important element of affirmative action for people with disabilities, including disabled veterans, is the university’s commitment to providing reasonable accommodations.  Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to job duties or conditions.  Such accommodations are provided by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion under the Employee Reasonable Accommodation Policy. To learn more, visit W&M's website on respecting the rights of employees and applicants with disabilities.  

Other Affirmative Action Programs 

Some universities are also subject to court-ordered affirmative action programs to eliminate past discrimination in employment.  William & Mary is not subject to such a court order.