Affirmative Action Program
6. Legal Basis
UHS’ commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action to ensure full utilization of women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans is supported by the following laws and regulations:
Executive Order 11246:
The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in Government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Executive Order also requires Government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. Title VII also applies to private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities
- Equal Pay Act of 1963:
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages. Congress enacted the EPA, as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, to correct the conditions created by the pay inequities that existed based on sex — specifically to remedy the wage disparity faced by women.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age.” This law specifically protects employees who have obtained the age of 40 or higher.
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA):
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, also referred to as GINA, is a federal law that protects Americans from being treated unfairly because of differences in their DNA that may affect their health. The new law prevents discrimination from health insurers and employers.
- Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code:
The general purpose Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code is to make unlawful any employment practice that: 1) fails or refuses to hire an individual, discharges an individual, or discriminates in any other manner against an individual in connection with compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or, 2) limits, segregates, or classifies an employee or applicant for employment in a manner that would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of any employment opportunity or adversely affect in any other manner the status of an employee because of his or her race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age.
UHS’ commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action to ensure full utilization of individuals with disabilities and for protected veterans, is supported by the following laws and regulations:
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended:
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination and requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that exceed $10,000 to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. All covered contractors and subcontractors must also include a specific equal opportunity clause in each of their nonexempt contracts and subcontracts.
- Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) of 1974:
Prohibits supply and service and construction contractors (and their subcontractors) from discriminating in employment against veterans. It also requires that these contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance veterans. Despite its name, this statute is no longer limited to veterans from the Vietnam Era. VEVRAA applies equally to: 1) disabled veterans; 2) Armed Forces service medal veterans; 3) recently separated veterans, and; 4) other protected veterans who served during or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended:
The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. Disability is defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” OFCCP has had coordinating authority under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits job discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities by employers with 15 or more employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has primary authority for enforcing the ADA.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994:
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act clarifies and strengthens the Veterans' Reemployment Rights Statute. USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when that person needs to be absent from civilian employment to serve in the military.
- Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA) of 2002:
Jobs for Veterans Act added to VEVRAA requires employers with federal contracts of $100,000 or more to provide equal opportunity and affirmative action for recently separated veterans (extending coverage from one year to three years), all disabled veterans, veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, or any other veteran who served on active duty and received an Armed Forces service medal pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 C.F.R. 1209).
- ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008:
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 amends both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) in a manner that significantly expands disability protection for students, employees and the public at large diagnosed with a physical or mental impairment. Congress significantly expanded what constitutes a major life activity and conveyed its disagreement with judicial interpretation of the phrase “substantially limits.” The ADAAA also expanded the previously existing definition of major life activities with the following additions: eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, bending, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and the operation of a major bodily function. In addition, it precluded an organization from considering the impact of “mitigating measures” such as hearing aids, other technology, reasonable accommodations, learned behavior or adaptive neurological modifications or other such interventions – with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses – in determining whether an individual’s impairment is covered by the ADAAA. It also requires an impairment that is episodic or in remission be considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
- Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011:
The federal “Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” became law on November 21, 2011. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act contains three main provisions: (1) amends and expands the protections of USERRA; (2) amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide certain tax credits to tax-exempt companies that hire unemployed veterans; and (3) creates new and expanded education, training, and transition programs for veterans within the federal Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs. Only the first provision affects employers generally. Very simply, the first provision of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act adds language to USERRA that will allow employees to bring a legal claim against their employer for a “hostile work environment” based on military service and veteran status. It does so by adding the phrase “the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” to the statute’s definition of the “benefits of employment.” This new language mirrors the definitions found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the courts have relied upon to recognize employee “hostile work environment” claims based on race, color, national origin, religion and sex