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Affirmative Action

A group of employees having a conversation at a table

The University is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, a central tenet of our institutional vision and values. This commitment extends to policies and practices for admissions, recruitment, and employment in accordance with the principles of equal opportunity and Affirmative Action and in compliance with applicable law.

For more information on the University’s commitment: Read the Nondiscrimination Statement.

Affirmative Action Plan

In accordance with its obligations as a government contractor, the University of Rochester’s Affirmative Action Program implements the University’s Affirmative Action Plans to ensure that all qualified applicants and employees receive an equal opportunity for recruitment, selection, advancement, and all other terms and conditions of employment.  Based on the applicable regulations, the Plans focus in particular on the underutilization of women and minorities and the enhancement of employment and promotional opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities.

The Affirmative Action Plan is prepared annually by the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI) for the year running November 1 to October 31 of the following year. OEI reviews Plan performance and revises the Plan annually, including all relevant statistical reports.

The Affirmative Action Plan is available for inspection by current faculty and staff during regular business hours upon written request.  OEI  will assign a staff member to grant access and review the Plan with the requesting faculty or staff person. The Plan may not be copied or removed from OEI.


Affirmative Action Training

Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. The University’s Affirmative Action Plan is implemented, kept on file, and updated annually. Managers who understand the basics of the Affirmative Action Plan help ensure that the University will continue to be eligible for future government contracts, reduce the risk of an audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and help avoid costly OFCCP-imposed penalties and other interventions.

The University offers Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Virtual Training will provide an overview of federal contractor EEO and affirmative action compliance obligations. Major topics will include the following:

  • AAP History and Background
    • Regulations That Govern the AAPs
    • Overview of OFCCP and Enforcement
  • AAP Reporting Requirements
    • Required Reports for An AAP
  • Implementation (beyond the written plan)
    • What To Do With the Results of Your AAP
    • Additional Federal Contractor Obligations
  • Compliance Reviews
    • Responding to a Scheduling Letter
    • Possible Outcomes of a Compliance Review

For questions about Affirmative Action, please email

For job posting and employment-related needs, please contact your Human Resources Business Partner.

Download the Good Faith Efforts Form here (Excel document will begin to download automatically)

Affirmative Action Frequently Asked Questions

What is Affirmative Action?

  • Affirmative Action refers to the obligations of an employer to take affirmative steps to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their membership in a protected class, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

What is an Affirmative Action Plan and does the University have one?

  • An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is a tool, a written program in which an employer details the steps it has taken and will take to ensure the right of all persons to advance on the basis of merit and ability without regard to their membership in a protected class. It consists of statistical analyses of an employer’s utilization (or underutilization) of individuals from certain protected classes such as women, veterans, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. It includes training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps.

Why does the University have to develop and implement an Affirmative Action Program?

  • Federal regulations require the University to maintain an AAP because the university is a federal contractor with more than 50 employees.

What is equal employment opportunity and how does this differ from affirmative action?

  • Equal Employment means all individuals shall be treated equally in all employment processes. That is, individuals shall be considered based on their qualifications without regard to their membership in a protected class. See the University’s Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Discriminatory Employment/Service Practices for more information.
  • Affirmative Action seeks to remove barriers that limit those in protected classes that have historically been discriminated against. In other words, the University seeks to overcome past discrimination of women and minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans by being active in their recruitment, employment, and retention.

Who benefits from the University’s affirmative action policies and programs?

  • All employees benefit from the University’s affirmative action policies and programs as they help to ensure an equitable, diverse and fair environment for everyone.

Are Affirmative Action goals required?

  • Executive Order 11246 requires all federal contractors to make Good Faith Efforts to meet affirmative action goals, and those federal contractors that employ 50 or more employees and receive $50,000 or more in federal funds, must have a written affirmative action plan for women and minorities. Goals and timetables are part of the requirements of an affirmative action plan for women and minorities. Goals are voluntary measures of progress in hiring women and minorities that an employer such as the University has established for its workforce to correct underutilization.

What is underutilization?

  • Underutilization exists when fewer women and minorities are employed in job groups than would be expected given their availability (with the requisite skills to perform the job) in the labor pools.

How does the university address underutilization?

  • In order to address underutilization, the university tracks good faith efforts to correct underutilization. As a Federal contractor we must identify and remove barriers that negatively affect underutilized groups; support inclusion through respect for and equal dignity to all persons; review recruitment strategies to ensure focused outreach to a diverse pool of qualified applicants; and put forth retention efforts and provide professional development opportunities for underutilized groups equal to the efforts and opportunities afforded others in the workforce.

How are the University’s affirmative action obligations enforced?

  • Enforcement is conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Internally, the University’s Institutional Office of Equity and Inclusion oversees the University’s AAP.  Click Here for more information

As a manager, supervisor, and human resources business partner (HRBPs), what are my responsibilities to comply with the University’s affirmative action policy?

  • The University’s managers, supervisors, and HRBPs, are responsible for maintaining a work environment free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. They are responsible for reviewing all personnel actions for potential differential impacts on protected groups in actions such as selection, salary, promotion, reclassification, layoff, corrective action, training and termination. They are also responsible for applying policies and standards consistently and having legitimate reasons for all employment decisions. Affirmative Action Policy for Minorities, Women, Disabled Individuals, and Protected Veterans