Our Firm works very hard to insure the advancement and retention of all attorneys, but we do have targeted initiatives, such as our Women’s Initiative, to focus on female attorneys. The Women’s Initiative, along with the Diversity Committee, serve as resources and advocates for minority lawyers at the Firm.
Diversity initiatives such as these can have many positive impacts on companies, including improving employee morale, decreasing discrimination charges, and reducing employee turnover. Studies have also shown that having a diversity program improves a companies bottom line and can increase customer-base as customers seek to find business partners whose work forces match theirs in terms of diversity.
Diversity programs are not without critics, however.
Employers who are thinking about setting up diversity initiatives do need to be careful that they are not exposing themselves to claims of reverse discrimination. One of the keys to this is insuring that all employees, regardless of whether part of the majority or minority, understand the importance of these initiatives for the company as a whole. Another key is to consult with employment counsel as to the lawful interest groups that can be established without violating discrimination laws.
Employers who are looking for some practical suggestions as to human resources policies that help manage diversity can also review the EEOC’s Best Practices of Private Sector Employers for suggestions.