The application of the term affirmative action in business ethics implies the the discriminative employment practices, and it may incorporate a legal directive of the government, for instance a legal directive from the federal government of the United States to federal contractors aiming in developing a work force which directly represent or mirror the community in which these contractors are operating, (http://ezinearticles.com/?Affirmative-Action-Versus-Diversity—Whats-The-Real-Difference?&id=158852 ) For instance in the United States of America, affirmative action was purposely meant to correct the historic discriminatory employment practices over the minorities and women , which were instigated by recruiting procedures,hiring criteria and accessibility to training.
The issue of affirmative action can also be designed to correct the the damage caused to some group in society during the past discriminations or involvement in activities for the common good, like in the case of Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program (DVAAP) in the United states(http://www.opm.gov/employ/veterans/DVAAP.asp)
The veterans are the people who had sacrificed their time in the military operation in foreign wars for the sake of their patriotism for their country,for example the civil war veterans of the United States. In recognizing their sacrifice, the congress of the federal Government enacted laws that were set to protect veteran from being penalized for the time wasted in the military servicing in the process of seeking federal employment.
These laws recognizes the loss that this veteran incurred economically and a sign of appreciation for their devotion in serving their country, thus they are meant in at least promoting them into a competitive edge in seeking government posts and above all as a sign of acknowledging their commitment, although currently disabled.
The issue of applying affirmative action directed to giving prefferences to veterans is justifiable in the sense that, they had wasted time in the military at the expense of developing themselves professionally for the common good of the whole country. The peace and happiness than the current people are enjoying is not that it just came to be there, but rather fought for by these veterans, who got disabilities in the fight, in which some of the disabilities are obstacles for their effort in developing their professionalism and featuring along competitive job post in the government.
According the utilitarianism school of thought that explain that an action is good if it is for the common good without factoring in the personal interests ,the action of the veterans is justifiable because they had placed aside their personal interests and rather opted to fight in the military in the process of protecting the citizens of the United states, which was rather a goal for the common good. They had wasted their time and exposed themselves to risk that rendered them disabled, (http://www.utilitarian.org/utility.html).
Therefore disabled veterans should be given prefferential treatment over the better qualified candidates who are not veterans as a reward for their devotion in putting the country’s interests first at the expense of their personal interests. Utilitarianism further advocates for the statement of do to your neighbor what you expect him do for you as a general rule,and this now again justifies for the affirmative over the veterans because they placed their personal interests a side for the reason of protecting the citizens, and now that they are disabled they need a special treat in compensation over the damage they incurred, thus the non veterans are expected this time round to place aside their personal interests so that to enable also the veterans to enjoy as they were enjoying the protection there before during the civil war.
Although, from the deontological view point, a correct motivation itself does not justify an action to be either right or wrong, implying that the sacrificing of personal interests for the common good of the citizens by the veterans in not a good reason enough for them to be considered to have done a right thing that needs compensation,(http://atheism.about.com/od/ethicalsystems/a/Deontological.htm ).This argument automatically disqualifies the affirmative action over the veterans, in the sense that there choice of action was never good,otherwise they could have followed their own duties rather than having the interest of many as a motivation for their action.
According to the deontologists, a moral action is an action that one do on following their duties and not having the interest of many as the fast priority at the expense of personal duties. If one is not behaving in a manner that he is following his duties, then such a behavior is immoral, and that means the veteran choice to involve themselves in military at the expense of their personal interests is immoral, and as such they were expected to follow their personal interests in holding to their duties,rules and obligations which are determined by God, according to the deontologists, where being moral is an issue of obeying God.
The disabled veterans had a choice of not joining the military, which rendered them into their current state,therefore this is just nothing but an immoral behavior according to the deontologists, which should be a problem of one self rather than abstracting the whole process for the persons who had made a right choice of not joining the military in the name of affirmative action, that undermines their justice for the right choice done. Thus affirmative action is wrong and the disabled veterans should not be given preference over qualified persons because it was there wrong choice, which is an immoral behavior.
In the United states, the federal government has set some kind of affirmative action that are meant in promoting accesses to education,employment and housing among the women and minorities, and they were set purposely to correct the historical socio-political discrimination in society, and it is done by encouraging public institution to behave in certain way so as to be reflective on the society that they operate in.
These institutions include hospitals, universities and the polices forces. This kind of affirmative action is quite different from the affirmative action that is offered to the veterans and the difference just on the reasons for affirmative action. The affirmative action that is extended to the veterans is a kind of a compensation for the services that they gave to the country when serving in military that rendered them to the a state of disability, whereas the affirmative action extended to the minorities and women is based on the reasons of historical socio-political discrimination that had rendered them to their current state.