Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Affirmative Action At Work
Lesson 3
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


In this lesson, learners examine Affirmative Action programs in the workplace and begin to explore the concept of "reverse discrimination," using Internet sources and the attached study guides.


One Fifty-Minute Class Period


The learner will:

  • access the Internet to read information pertaining to Affirmative Action in the workplace.
  • use Affirmative Action in the Workplace (Attachment One) to organize information researched on the Internet


  • Computer lab with Internet access
  • Affirmative Action in the Workplace (Attachment One)
Handout 1
Affirmative Action in the Workplace

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
The teacher tells the class to imagine that ten students are to be chosen for a paid community-based work training program. A new technology firm has decided to open a business in the area, and they are looking for high school students to work as interns in Web Design. Students interested in the program must read and sign a form indicating they realize that of the ten students accepted for employment, at least five must be African American or Hispanic. This stipulation will be followed until the work force at the firm is racially proportionate to that of the community (approximately 35% of the community is either Hispanic or African American). One Hispanic and one African American intern accepted into the program were less qualified than two European Americans denied admittance to the program. Do the two European Americans have the right to sue for acceptance into the employment program?

  • In the computer lab, students access the website http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=443&invol=193. This describes the Supreme Court case of Steelworkers v. Weber, which is related to the effects of Affirmative Action. (Note to teacher: This is difficult reading. I suggest the teacher gives a summary of the case and discuss some of the language and terminology in advance.)

  • Give each student a copy of Attachment One: Affirmative Action in the Workplace and instruct learners to read the questions first and scan the website text to find the answers. They will find answers in the Forward and Sections A and B. (Note to teacher: Again, due to the difficult language, you may wish to do this reading guide together as a large-group project.)


The teacher should collect the completed Affirmative Action in the Workplace (Attachment One) for credit.

Bibliographical References:

Case Law regarding Steelworkers v Weber and Affirmative Action. Accessed July 12, 2010. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=443&invol=193  

Summary of Steelworkers v Weber and Affirmative Action. Accessed July 12, 2010. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/United+Steelworkers+v.+Weber

Lesson Developed By:

Christine Knapp
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools
Mt. Pleasant High School
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Affirmative Action in the Workplace

Refer to paragraph two (first long paragraph) of the Forward to answer the following questions:

What was the Kaiser Company's affirmative action plan designed to eliminate?



What percentage of craftwork job training programs were set aside for black employees?



Prior to 1974, what was the percentage of black craftwork employees at the plant?



Prior to 1974, what was the total percentage of the local black workforce?



Selection for the craftwork training program was based on _________________.



In the Kaiser plant's craftwork training program, did all of the black trainees have higher seniority than the white applicants not accepted for training?



Refer to section 1(a) (Held:) to answer the following questions:

Title VII does not condemn what type of affirmative action plans?



Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to "discriminate …because of race" in hiring and selection of apprentices for training programs. This was determined by both the District and Appeals Courts to include white workers. What did the  Supreme Court determine about the claim that Title VII was discriminatory against white workers?



Refer to section 1(b) to answer the following question:

What did the Court rule was Congress' primary concern in Title VII?



Refer to section 1(c) to answer the following question:

According to the Court, what would Congress have written into Title VII, had it meant to prohibit all race-conscious affirmative action plans?



Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Affirmative Action Summary


Order In The Court
Little Rock, 1957
Affirmative Action At Work
Court So Orders (The )

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