Ask the Expert
Each month, we’ll tackle one of those burning questions that keeps you awake at night or causes heartburn during the day. Our team of experts will help you stay in the know, giving you the information and answers you need to your questions about recruiting trends, legislation, workplace issues and more.
What is DEI and why does it matter?
Diversity stems from Title VII (7) from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In general, it applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The original statute prohibits discrimination in virtually every employment circumstance on the basis of race, color, religion/creed, gender, pregnancy or national origin.
There are also sub definitions and additions: Race, color, religion/creed, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 and older is protected) disability or genetic information.
We recommend using a DEI statement like the following:
[Company] is actively committed to promoting and maintaining the importance of diversity to its work. We encourage everyone across the spectrums of race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, age, gender identity and expression, educational background, sexual orientation, and religion to apply.
However, DEI goes beyond simply putting a statement on your job postings and website. Candidate pools should always be merit-based – on the skills and qualifications required to successfully perform the job. It is fine to look for ways to help candidates in protected classes have an opportunity for a role that might otherwise have not been open to them. An example would be when the job requirement is 20+ years of technical SW team management. Because many women have not been in senior tech for 20 years, you are willing to consider 12+ years of experience for a DEI candidate. In this example all candidates (regardless of gender) should be considered but you are making a choice to be flexible to create a pathway.
Diverse candidate pools should also consider: diversity in thought, education, school/university, professional organizations, and class/socio-economic status.
Also, be aware of potential adverse impact. Adverse impact occurs when a decision, practice or policy has a disproportionately negative effect on a protected group, even though the adverse impact may be unintentional. One area to look at is any testing used during your hiring process. These tests need to be certified and tested for adverse impact. Another potential area to look at is conducting criminal background checks without business necessity. These might have a disproportionate effect on members of a protected class.
Next month we will answer the question of how to make your workplace more inclusive. DEI is a very complicated and detailed topic with many variables. Yet it is also a very important topic to know and understand. Our team of experts is ready to assist you with your DEI initiatives. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-362-0175 to set up a time to speak with one of our experts.
About the Author
Rebecca has been part of the TalentRemedy team since 2015. She brings a background as an HR executive in large and small corporations and nonprofit organizations. She is a published author and has been quoted in many publications on recruiting and HR issues. Rebecca describes herself as a “matchmaker” who loves being creative and unlocking the potential of both candidates and clients.