Your Compliance Edge

Diversity Terms

- A -

Accessibility: The absence of access barriers. A site, building, or portion thereof is accessible when it complies with ADA guidelines.

Adverse impact (effect): When certain personnel or program eligibility policies (e.g., word-of-mouth recruiting, diploma requirements, intelligence tests, minimum height requirements, disproportionate terminations or layoffs) have the effect of denying employment, advancement, or services to protected class members.

Adverse treatment: An action that would in any way deprive an individual of employment, educational opportunity, or services that he or she was otherwise eligible to receive, or that would negatively affect his or her status.

Affirmative action: The development of a program through which an employer acts to affirm the contributions that a diverse workforce can bring to a work environment. This is accomplished by taking specific steps to identify, recruit, hire and/or develop for advancement, persons who are identified as part of specific protected classes. Thus, an employer demonstrates its willingness to remedy past acts of discrimination against specific groups by developing goals and timetables, and mechanisms through which success is measured, with an ultimate goal of achieving a diverse workforce.

Affirmative Action Plan: The document, required by Executive Order No. 478, from appointing authorities of agencies which provides the method for implementation of Affirmative Action.

Affirmative Action Program: The implementation of an Affirmative Action Plan.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law 101-336: Legislation that gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunication.

Amplified telephone: A telephone equipped with a sound amplification device such as an amplified headset or a freestanding amplifier.

Applicant pool: Those persons who have applied for a particular position or who have applications on file from which an employee may be selected.

Asian or Pacific Islander: Having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific islands.

Assistive listening device: A device that enhances hearing, such as a personal system that can be used for listening to television, attending meetings with speakers, and round-table discussions. Group assistive listening systems like audio loops enhance listening for groups or certain individuals in groups.

Audio loop: A type of assistive listening system. It consists of a continuous length of wire that acts as an antenna for an audio receiver system, to which individual receivers can be attached. Used in conference and classroom settings by individuals who are hard of hearing.

Availability: The presence of protected class members "ready, willing, and able to work." Used in setting goals and determining underutilization and parity.

- B -

Bias: A settled and often prejudiced outlook.

Black: Having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa or the Cape Verde Islands.

Braille: A reading method for the blind predicated on the use of a six-dot cell, using the dots in various combinations. Also, a code using short form words, letter combination abbreviations, special signs to indicate capitalization, and other punctuation. To be read by touch.

Business necessity: Justification for an otherwise prohibited employment practice, based on proof that the practice is essential for the safety and efficiency of the business and that no reasonable alternative with a lesser impact exists.

- C -

Chilling effect: Maintenance by an employer of a work environment or a system of employment practices, the effect of which is to discourage minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and/or Vietnam Era veterans from seeking employment or advancement within the organization.

Compliance: The degree to which an employer carries out (complies with) the mandatory affirmative action plan or nondiscrimination clause in its contracts.

Compliance review: Routine review of the employment practices of an employer by an agency.

- D -

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Office of the Americans with Disabilities Act (DOJ): The federal agency with overall responsibility for enforcement of the ADA, investigating complaints, and providing technical assistance on the ADA.

Descriptive video service: The enhancement of a television program or movie with audio descriptions of costumes, scene information, and actions not already perceived by simply listening to the audio. Descriptions are done so that they do not interfere with the program itself. (See separate audio program.)

Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. (ADA)

Disabled veteran: A person entitled to compensation under laws administered by the Veterans Administration for disability, or a person whose discharge or release from active duty was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Discrimination: Illegal treatment of a person or group (either intentional or unintentional) based on race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, sexual preferences, or other protected category under law.

Diversity: The inclusion, integration, awareness, and appreciation of various cultures within a workforce and the opportunity for the maximum utilization of individual members' talents, skills, and perspectives, with a view towards increasing the organization's productivity.

Diversity director: A highly placed individual within the secretariat who has the authority and responsibility to implement the secretariat's affirmative action/equal opportunity/diversity plans.

Diversity officer: A highly placed individual within the agency who has the authority and responsibility to implement the agency's affirmative action/equal opportunity/diversity plans.

- E -

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Independent federal agency created by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Responsible for administering Title VII, the EEOC may bring suit, subpoena witnesses, issue guidelines with the force of law, render decisions, and provide technical assistance to complainants and others. The EEOC, which does not conduct routine compliance reviews, investigates complaints of discrimination in employment and attempts to achieve conciliation agreements. The EEOC may bring a failed conciliation to a court of law.

Equal opportunity: An organizations' effort to ensure that all personnel and service programs, policies, and practices will be formulated and conducted in a manner that ensures equal access for all people and prevents discrimination. As part of this effort, organizations ensure that employment and service provision policies are based solely on the individual eligibility, merit, or fitness of applicants, employees, and recipients of services for jobs and services without regard to race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, affectional or sexual preferences or political or union affiliation.

Executive order: A written instrument promulgated by the president of the United States or governor of an individual state, which has the force of law.

- G -

Goal: A numerical objective, fixed realistically in terms of the number of vacancies expected and the number of qualified applicants available in the job market.

Good faith efforts: Documented, honest attempts to reach affirmative action goals.

- H -

Having a record of such an impairment: Having a history of, or having been classified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Hispanic (Latino/a): Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

- I -

Individual with a disability: A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, is regarded as having such an impairment, or has a record of such an impairment.

- J -

Job analysis: A detailed examination of the important functions of a particular job and the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully perform those functions.

- L -

Labor market area: The geographical area in which an employer can reasonably recruit persons for employment. The labor market area will generally be the standard metropolitan statistical area for which census and other employment data is available.

Large print: Any print that is 14-point type or larger.

- M -

Major life activity: One of many functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, thinking, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

Minority: For EEO official reporting purposes, the term "minority" includes people who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander and American Indian or Alaskan Native.

- N -

Native American: Having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and maintaining cultural identification through tribal affiliations or community recognition.

Nepotism: The practice of showing favoritism to relatives or close friends over other applicants applying for positions.

Non-exempt employees: Employees that are covered by minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wage and Hour Law).

- O -

Office and clerical: Occupations in which workers are responsible for internal and external communication, recording data or information, and other paperwork required in an office. Includes bookkeepers, messengers, clerk-typists, payroll clerk, and kindred workers.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at Department of Health and Human Services: Department at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with jurisdiction over any entity receiving federal assistance from HHS in enforcing regulations prohibiting discrimination because of sex, race, color, national origin (including persons with limited English proficiency), disability, or religion. OCR enforces these regulations through complaint investigations, compliance reviews, pre-grant reviews, and voluntary compliance outreach. OCR enforces prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities through section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the ADA, Public Services, including all activities of state and local governments relating to health and human services.

Official/Administrator: Occupations in which employees set policies, exercise responsibility for these policies, or direct individual departments or special phases of the agency's operations, or provide specialized consultation on a regional, district, or area basis. Includes department heads, controllers, or kindred workers.

- P -

Paraprofessional: Occupations in which workers perform some of the duties of a professional or technician in a supportive role, but which usually require less formal training. Includes positions such as research assistants, medical aids, recreation assistants, home health aids, and kindred workers.

Parity: Equality. The ultimate goal of affirmative action programming, by achieving the same level of representation internally as in the external workforce.

Physical or mental impairment: A condition, such as contagious and non-contagious diseases and conditions such as orthopedic, visual speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, learning disabilities, HIV disease, tuberculosis, drug addiction, alcoholism, that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as thinking, walking, speaking, hearing, seeing, working, learning and breathing.

Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA): An enumeration district designated by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for statistical purposes.

Professionals: Individuals in an occupation requiring specific knowledge usually acquired through college training--e.g., social workers, doctors, accountants, registered nurses, teachers, and kindred workers.

Program accessibility: The degree to which programs and activities are operated so, when viewed in their entirety, they are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Protected class: Legally identified groups that are specifically protected by statute against discrimination. Individuals in protected classes should be covered by the provider's Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity and Programmatic Access Plan.

Protective service (sworn/non-sworn): Occupations in which workers are entrusted with public safety or security, e.g., guards, firefighters, correctional officers, life guards, crossing guards, animal control workers, and kindred workers.

- Q -

Qualified individual: A person who meets legal valid, predetermined, and announced eligibility requirements. For example, a person with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, practices, or facilities, meets essential eligibility requirements shall be considered qualified.

Qualified interpreter: An interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

- R -

Readily accessible to and usable by: When a program, service, or activity is no harder to get to and use by an individual with a disability than it would be for anyone else.

Readily achievable: Easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.

Reasonable accommodation: The modification of environments, policies, programs, schedules, requirements or facilities to adapt to the needs and abilities of an individual with disabilities, unless it would impose undue hardship. Reasonable accommodation may include building ramps, setting up TTY telephone lines, acquiring and providing auxiliary aids or services (like amplification equipment, sign language interpreters, qualified readers, or a talking computer) or modifying existing equipment and providing job restructuring, modification of work schedules, or reassignments of employees or clients.

Regarded as having a disability: Treated as having a disability, or having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others towards the impairment.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Act of Congress creating civil rights protections for persons with disabilities in federal programs.

Remedy: Whatever is required to "make the charging party whole," that is, whatever would have (or would not have) happened, had a violation not occurred, or, where that is not possible, money to compensate the charging party.

- S -

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Section of the Act creating civil rights protections for persons with disabilities in programs receiving federal assistance.

Selection procedures: Refers to the process for choosing the successful applicant for employment or advancement, or for admission to a program.

Separate audio program (SAP): A device built into televisions manufactured after 1987, which permits access to a separate audio track that includes descriptive narrative along with the program's original dialogue. Used by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. (see Descriptive Video System).

Service maintenance: Occupations that result in or contribute to the comfort, convenience, hygiene, or safety of the general public or that contribute to the upkeep and care of buildings or grounds of public property. Includes chauffeurs, laundry operatives, custodial personnel, and construction laborers.

Sexism: The belief in the superiority of one sex over the other based on the belief that gender is the determinant of human traits and capacities.

Sexual harassment: Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which creates a hostile, humiliating, or offensive work environment which materially interferes with the employee's ability to perform the job; submission to, or rejection of, sexual advances or requests for sexual favors which form the basis of an employment decision.

Signaler: A signaling device equipped with a flashing light (visual), an audio message (audio), or movement (motion) available with combined functions for fire, doorbell, and telephone.

Skilled craft: Occupations requiring special manual skill and a comprehensive knowledge of the processes involved in the work, acquired through apprenticeship or other formal training programs. Includes mechanics and repairmen, electricians, carpenters, typesetters, and kindred workers.

Systematic discrimination: A pattern of discrimination that is the result of pervasive interrelated actions, policies, and procedures.

- T -

Tape: Print material read onto an audiocassette tape by sighted readers to be used by blind and visually impaired individuals who cannot access print.

Technician: A person in an occupation requiring a combination of basic scientific or technical knowledge obtained through specialized post-secondary school education or on-the-job training, such as computer operators or programmers, LPNs, medical or dental technicians, draftsmen, and kindred workers.

Television caption decoder: Device that allows a television receiver to display the audio portion of programming as text superimposed over the video. All televisions 13" or larger manufactured on or after July 1, 1993 must include a computer chip that performs the same function as that of a decoder unit.

Timetable: The time frame set for attaining measurable goals in an affirmative action program.

TTY: A telecommunication device for the deaf, consisting of a machine that employs graphic communication in the transmission of coded signals through a wire or radio communication system.

- U -

Underutilization: Having fewer protected class members in a particular job classification than would be expected by their availability in the workforce or recruitment area.

Undue financial or administrative burden: A defense available to a state or an entity operating a program, service or activity for that state which relieves it of responsibility for failure to provide access when the modification needed to provide access would fundamentally alter the program, service, or activity in question or would be so costly that it would exceed its resources.

Undue hardship: Significant difficulty or expense when considering the nature and cost of the accommodation, the overall financial resources of the organization, and the type of operations of the organization.

- V -

Validation: The study of an employer's tests or selections standards, which proves that such tests or standards, is significant predictions of successful job performance. The study requires a large sample of applicants and must include representatives of groups suffering adversely from such standards.

Vietnam Era veteran: A person who served on active duty for a period of more than 90 days, any part of which occurred between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, and was honorably discharged or released therefrom.

- W -

Worforce analysis: A detailed listing, by department or other organizational unit, of job classifications as they may appear in collective bargaining agreement or payroll records.

Worforce parity: The percentage of protected class members in the total labor force, regardless of occupational specialty.

Workforce: The total number of persons employed.