What exactly is a D.E.I. policy?
Corporate companies have had policies that promote diversity, equity and inclusion in some form for decades, largely to avoid discrimination on the basis of race, sex or religion. In recent years, these policies have increasingly been gathered under the acronym D.E.I.
Ivuoma Onyeador, a Northwestern University professor whose research examines how people understand discrimination and disparities, said that companies have D.E.I. policies to ensure that “their employees and customers and clients from marginalized backgrounds are having the same experience as employees, customers and clients from dominant groups or well-represented backgrounds.”
Those policies “signal to employees from marginalized backgrounds, or racial minorities, that the companies care about their experiences,” Dr. Onyeador said. “That’s the benefit of having these programs.”
Stephanie Creary, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research focuses on inclusion in the workplace, said that D.E.I. efforts have traditionally focused on issues such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, mentoring and sponsorship programs.
Over the years, Dr. Creary said that “D.E.I. practices have become broader in scope, particularly in terms of the dimensions of difference on which they focus, including religious values.”