An affirmative action law may be any law that controls the use of ethnicity, gender or race in an effort to provide equal opportunity. It frequently covers the procedures used to make educational and employment decisions, as well as health programs. The intent of affirmative action laws is to provide diversity throughout society and redress previous discrimination. Affirmative action laws in the United States have resulted in many court cases, and they also have been challenged on constitutional grounds.
Adverse impactAdverse impact is the degree to which one group of people is less favored than another. Jurisdictions frequently set a specific standard for adverse impact.
Connecticut legally defines adverse impact. A group that is selected less than 80 percent as often as the favored group is considered to be adversely impacted.
Bakke decisionThe Bakke decision was a landmark case on affirmative action decided by the Supreme Court of California in 1978. It prohibits a quota system in college admissions, but also rules that affirmative action programs are constitutional.
Jim Crow lawsJim Crow laws were enacted between 1876 and 1965 and mandated the "separate but equal" status of non-whites during this period. Many affirmative action laws are intended to correct the effects of Jim Crow laws.
University of Dayton has an article that argues in favor of affirmative action and specifically discusses the effect of Jim Crow laws on American society.