Affirmative Action at its finest

Normally I’m content to lurk and observe around here. But not today. No, today my brother was fired from his job. And it wasn’t because the market sucks or anything like that. And it wasn’t for gross incompetence, or sleeping with the boss’s daughter or something else along those lines. I wouldn’t be too worked up for something like that. No, he was fired for no good reason.

Some background: My brother is a co-op student working for General Electric (for those who don’t know co-op stands for COOPerative education, he works while he goes to school). He goes to a good engineering school, and does alright for himself. Not the top of his class, but he’s an incredibly hard worker, and is in his element when working with both engineers and guys on the shop floor. He’s been given numerous awards for outstanding work, taking on responsibilities beyond what they asked, etc etc.

Point is, he’s good at what he does. But that doesn’t mean much when the higher-ups decide they want to improve their image.

His boss was actually told to fire all the white co-ops and hire minorities. Not hire more minorities next semester, not create more openings and fill them with minorities, just fire the white guys and replace them. Now, I don’t normally have a problem with Affirmative Action, but that’s just stupid. And it gets worse. Now they’re “strictly” adhering to a minimum required GPA of 3.5, which in and of itself means little, however, his boss was also told that when reviewing applicants to consider a minority with a 3.25 and above. Now I’m not sure, but it doesn’t seem like they’re strictly adhering to anything besides political correctness. I suppose I can sort of see the logic of this type of policy if you’re looking at kids coming from inner city schools or something, where the grades might not be an accurate reflection of one’s abilities, but these are all engineering college students, damnit. What’s more, is they’re mostly coming from the same damn school, and have taken the same classes. So if one kid has a better grade in the class it’s because he’s a better student, not because he’s had some sort of privileged white life.
This isn’t aimed at whoever will get my brother’s job. Far from it, I hope they enjoy the job as much as my brother did. This is aimed at the idiot that decided that this course of action was a good way of promoting racial equality. Though, I imagine that they only care about promoting the illusion of racial equality.

But what the fuck do I know. I’m just a stupid white kid.

Is this one department within a division of GE? One whole division? GE in its entirety?

I’m just curious, because it sounds ripe for a big news article–provided the facts are as presented, of course.

In any event, the decision (as described) was both wrong and stupid.

I’m pretty sure t’s just at this particular facility. And it’s just the co-ops that are getting the boot. They just got a new HR director there, and it sounds like she has a chip on her shoulder. I don’t know if the new HR director was brought in to change things or if things changed because of her.

I doubt they’ll be any article about it. Co-op students are usually only at the place for a semester or two, then they’re gone. If they like it they may come back after taking a semester of classes. So from an outsider’s point of view it’s just the normal turnover.

Oh, that was an internship, something of which I found impossible to get into despite applying 5 times and sporting a 3+ GPA.

Originally posted by Papamurf: His boss was actually told to fire all the white co-ops and hire minorities. Not hire more minorities next semester, not create more openings and fill them with minorities, just fire the white guys and replace them.

This person’s actions were illegal. If it can be proved that the reasons for firing were entirely racial, a lawsuit would probably be successful. It’s not that temporary or co-op type workers can’t be let go on a whim, but letting them go for stated racial(or sex or age factors, for that matter) is a different thing.

In any case, I would think that informing higher-ups in GE would result in the HR person that made this policy decion lose her job.

I was wondering if there was anything on the legal side that could be done about this. It seems to me, though, that it would be very easy for someone to say, “well, they’re co-ops and they’ve had their turn, now it’s time for someone else to work” that kind of thing.

My brother is actually checking into who initially gave the word, and what that word was. He was pretty well respected around there and should be able to get a straight answer about the whole thing, and hopefully keep his job. At the very least he’s going to raise some hell there.

Just what I was thinking. Even if the workers were just there on a very short-term basis, it’s hard to imagine that a company like GE would be able to get away with something like this without attention from the press. Reverse discrimination is quite the hot topic these days, after all.

I think it’s just at this facility that this is happening. I don’t think this is a corporation wide policy, and I don’t want people reading this thread and leaving with the impression that it is.

On a side note, the term Reverse discrimination bothers me. There’s nothing reverse about it. It is discrimination plain and simple. Saying it’s reverse implies that discrimination is supposed to go in one particular direction, and this time just happens to be different. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter who’s dishing it, and who’s receiving it.

Well put.

I also didn’t mean to imply that. But I still think that the media would love to get its hands on a story like this, involving a big-name company like GE.

Yes, at the individual level. But at the social level (which is ultimately where affirmative action is supposed to have some meaning), discrimination in the U.S. has of course had a historically directional “flow” to it. In this broader context, there most definitely is something reverse about so-called reverse discrimination. Without that, I don’t think the media would show much interest in it. (FWIW, I thought you were alluding to this context with your title for the thread.)

Anyway, sorry to detract from your rant. I hope your brother can get to the bottom of things. Nothing’s worse than having the rug pulled out from under your feet without knowing for sure why it was done to you.

I think unofficial corporate affirmative action does a lot more harm than government programs, which I have come into very little direct contact with. I don’t work in HR so I haven’t seen the effect race has on hiring practices but I’ve known a lot of managers and I know it has a lot to do with firing practices. The company has settled it’s way out of lawsuits where accusations of racism have been made, so the managers have different procedures to go through when they need to let someone go depending on their color. If you are a white guy who doesn’t meet the goals, has attendance problems, whatever, they get written up once and the second time they are fired. I have no problem with this, getting rid of slackers makes my job easier. The employee’s immediate supervisor usually recomends letting them go and his boss signs the papers, they’re out of there. It doesn’t work like that if the employee is black, though. After several write-ups the supervisor goes to his supervisor, who goes a level above him, and he contacts HR about the problem. Trouble employee is then usually moved to a different department, usually billing, though sometimes they are just put on another team in the same department.

You can’t really blame the company, they are doing this in self-defense. It’s not like they are trying to discriminate against white people, it’s just that they’ve never had to pay a huge settlement to a white guy who claims he was fired because of his color. I don’t even blame the guys who make those accusations after they have been fired - if I thought I had a chance to make a lot of money after losing a job I would take it, even if it meant having to lie about the real reason I was let go and claim that the management was racist. It just sucks in general that when you combine a litigious society with white guilt and corporate amorality you have a situation where productive workers have to be let go because the office has accumulated a lot of dead wood that can’t be disposed of.

Personally, I’m an evil evil bastard. I’d tell your brother to grab his hands on some sort of confirmation about the firing of all of the ‘whites’ and replacing them with minorities. Then CC a copy of what he sends to the HR person’s boss and ask if this is indeed policy.

Then send copies off to each of the local and national newspapers.

This’d be a NICE juicy story especially involving GE.

Most likely it’ll either be stopped immediately and the HR idiot replaced.

Maybe your brother should speak to a lawyer about this first though… There could be some sticky issues involving this if he does decide to do something.