By definition, affirmative action strives to ensure equal opportunities in the workplace for women and minority groups. It requires an employer to assesses the rate at which the company employs these individuals, relative to their availability in the labor pool, and then to devise a plan of action that addresses any discrepancies. The process also involves internal auditing to measure progress of the action plan and achievement of predetermined goals.
In Minnesota, for example, all companies with more than 40 employees statewide must develop an affirmative action plan and secure a certificate of compliance. The plan must include a detailed breakdown of goals and steps that the company intends to use to achieve these goals. In addition, it must identify target dates for goal achievement and delineate how the company will measure success. If a company fails to demonstrate good-faith efforts in meeting these goals, the state may revoke its certificate.