Affirmative Action At Work

9, 10, 11, 12

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.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 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)
Case Law regarding Steelworkers v Weber and Affirmative Action. Accessed July 12, 2010.  

Summary of Steelworkers v Weber and Affirmative Action. Accessed July 12, 2010.


  1. 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?

  2. In the computer lab, students access the website 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.)

  3. 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.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Explain and give examples of how a democratic constitution requires and protects philanthropic behavior as a democratic principle.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Provide examples from history of how the relationship between government and the civil society sector has changed.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Identify constitutional principles that protect minorities in a republic. Relate these principles to the role of nonprofit organizations.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.11 Discuss why organizations in the civil society sector work to protect minority voices.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.
    4. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Analyze and synthesize information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to public policy. Discuss these issues evaluating the effects of individual actions on other people, the rule of law and ethical behavior.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.6 Identify and discuss conflicting viewpoints of how philanthropic actions relate to democratic principles.