The question under discussion in this paper is a topic which will in a broad way assess the matter of ethics in the work place by considering all issues such as hiring of employees, assigning tasks to employees, promoting employees and so forth. As such, we shall review the numerous implications that come about due to discriminatory and selective behavior exercised on employees by organization.
When disabled employees get better or preferred treatment as compared to those who are not disabled but qualified employees, it is a clear case of discrimination which can also be treated as complete failure or non-adherence to the business code of ethics which are essential for the success any business (Dipboye and Colella, 2005); this is unless that such actions are affirmative in nature which are aimed at addressing past discriminations.
The problem is that such actions can obviously be categorized as selective since they appear discriminatory. In order to address this issue and many others we need to understand the whole concept of affirmative action.
The concept of affirmative action
Affirmative action refer to measures that have been put in place to create balance of some sort and at the same time address historical and documented acts of injustices among the category of persons for which the affirmative action program is designed for (Kowalski, 2006). Generally, the affirmative action usually takes into consideration factors such as gender, race, color, and nationality which are most often the common criteria upon which such injustices or discriminations are known to be based in the first place (Philosophytalk.org, 2011).
Most often when such policies are formulated they are meant to create a balance by having the discriminated groups such as women and other marginalized persons for instance to be represented at such levels that is deemed acceptable in order to address whatever form of discrimination that had existed previously. A disabled veteran is a person who has permitted to be awarded compensation because of incurring disability when at duty which might have occurred when at the work place (Fhwa.dot.gov, 2004).
Usually, one is entitled to compensation as regarded by the laws and policies set by the veteran association. So based on this essence of affirmative action it is my opinion that disabled veterans should be preferentially treated compared to other persons since this category of persons have been historically disadvantaged in the society but there are limitations to such preferential treatment as we shall see in the discussion below.
The purpose of affirmative action is to provide a mean of righting an injustice or a wrong that has historically taken place especially that which is of discriminatory nature and not to propagate further discrimination in the society by use of policies that promote the same.
This is the main principle that the Supreme Court is upholding in the various affirmative cases that it has ruled on and which has become the precedent that informed the rulings of the California Supreme court in which it struck two of the five affirmative programs that had been implemented in the State.
Based on the reasoning advanced in striking out the two programs and in retaining the other three we can be able to see why the answer to this question is both yes and no. This is because as much as there is need to have in place policies that will provide disabled veterans with preferential treatment over other ordinary persons in general there is also need to ensure that such preferential treatment does not over exceed and in the process become the source of new forms of discriminations.
Now based on the principles that necessitated the need of affirmative action in the first place, the Supreme Court come up with framework of assessing the rightness of an affirmative action program in order to ensure that it is indeed aimed at making right past discriminations and not creating new forms of discriminations.
In majority of its rulings and in what has now become the precedent the court requires that affirmative program meet two important conditions; one, that it show a “a demonstrated, specific need to remedy past discrimination” and secondly be “narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest” (Muhl, 1999).
So based on the first condition a disabled veteran program for instance should be designed in a manner that intends to meet this objective but not again to be the basis upon which other category of persons can be discriminated against. This way such a program will be consistent with Proposition 209 because no discrimination or in that case preferential intent can be stated to be the case since none exist (Muhl, 1999).
Secondly, the Supreme Court pointed out the need to have such an affirmative program be specifically developed and directed towards specific government interest; this way the requirement of having an affirmative program be developed for purposes of addressing past discrimination will be met which will make such programs less likely to be source of new forms of discriminations.
Thus, based on the same reasoning it means that any affirmative action programs for disabled veterans should be designed in similar manners that meet the two forms of requirements and concepts as highlighted by the Supreme Court ruling.
Dipboye, R. & Colella, A. (2005). Discrimination at work: the psychological and organization bases. California: Routledge press.
Fhwa.dot.gov. (2004). Personal Management Manual. Retrieved from
Kowalski, K. M. (2006). Affirmative Action. New York: Marshall Cavendish
Muhl, C. (1999). Affirmative action requirements. Monthly Labor Review, 122 (1): 48-50.
Philosophytalk.org, (2011). Affirmative Action. Retrieved from http://www.philosophytalk.org/pastShows/AffirmativeAction.htm