Last week, Governor Greg Abbott was the latest politician to lash out against DEI, stating “diversity, equity and inclusion policies used to screen or vet job candidates are illegal and state agency heads have a ‘duty’ to follow the law.” 

The outcry in response has been significant, with numerous labor and civil rights attorneys stating that the Governor is mischaracterizing DEI and anti-discrimination laws.  And he absolutely is.

Applying DEI to recruiting, performance reviews and promotion decisions ensures that no one’s bias leads to someone being hired, reviewed positively, or promoted unfairly, just as much as it ensures the same person is not passed over, criticized or held back unfairly.  DEI makes sure everyone gets a fair shake.  It does not put any person, group of people, or diversity demographic above another.  That is the exact opposite of what DEI does.

Employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin has been illegal since 1964.  Paying attention to diversity as part of hiring, retention and advancement means you are ensuring your candidates are diverse across all of these dimensions and more, such as disability, veteran status, age and socioeconomic background. 

If you are hiring someone only because of their race – or any other demographic dimension – that is discriminatory.  That is tokenism, and that devalues people into numbers.  That is absolutely not what DEI is about.

DEI work creates processes and systems that help employers cast a wide net so they can bring in the best candidate regardless of any of these dimensions.  It is not favoring any one dimension over another.  It’s making sure that exact thing does not happen.

DEI is not about politics.  DEI is about being people-first, about ensuring biases don’t hold anyone back in access to career opportunities, health care, financial services, and more.  You can be a Republican and support DEI efforts, just as much as you can be a Democrat and do the same.  This is about fair and equitable treatment.  It’s that simple.

DEI helps us create innovative, engaging workplaces where differences are a competitive advantage and something to be celebrated.  It also creates significant economic benefits for companies — revenue and margin growth, reduced turnover, increase return on invested capital, to name a few.

Guess who else benefits from these benefits?  The states they operate in.  Even Texas.

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Want to learn more about INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP?

On March 7th, join Michelle Bogan and Jolene Risch
as they share insights on how to be an inclusive leader
and provide tools to create an inclusive environment.

This event is in-person in Dallas, TX
Lunch will be provided.

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