Foley & Lardner LLP Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Alexis Robertson is quoted in The Washington Post article, “The growing battle over corporate diversity practices, explained,” commenting on the rise of legal challenges to corporate DEI efforts.
The purpose of DEI efforts is to “make workplaces that really work for everyone,” according to Robertson. But there’s a misconception, she explained, that these policies unfairly give preference to some groups over others — a claim advanced in many ongoing lawsuits.
Robertson said she is optimistic the tension around DEI will encourage companies to thoroughly examine their practices and develop more sophisticated solutions. If your organization’s DEI efforts amount to: “‘We’re giving some impermissible preference in hiring or promotion,’” Robertson said, “you’re going to get sued.”
Robertson added that due to the threat of legal challenges, organizations are likely to move away from DEI programs that exclusively target certain populations because “these efforts invite scrutiny,” and shift to focus on more “universal” efforts to make recruiting, hiring, and retention more successful for everyone.