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Many DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs sponsor Pride Month activities. As Pride Month draws to a close, there’s a current litigation trend to be aware of in the DE&I space.
Organizations on both extremes of DE&I issues — those who take hard public stances and those who haven’t articulated a stance yet — are seeing an increase in D&O (directors and officers) liability suits.
Because corporate law imposes fiduciary duties on both the board of directors and senior management to consider the interests of all the stakeholders, organizations can find themselves in uncomfortable predicaments. If they take a DE&I stand too strong, they may alienate some stakeholders. Conversely, if they don’t take a strong stand, they may upset stakeholders. Both scenarios can lead to lawsuits.
Keep these questions in mind as you reflect on Pride Month and how you support DE&I year-round.
Pride Month, observed during entire month of June, draws attention to the significance of LGBTQ+ inclusion, raises awareness, and commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. It embraces identity acceptance and belonging, celebrates diversity, challenges stereotypes, and advocates against discrimination. Observing this month in a meaningful way is an important element of a DE&I strategy.
Many organizations take this opportunity to encourage education, discourse, and collaboration. They:
Through these opportunities, participants get training on LGBTQ+ terminology, issues, and allyship to better understand and support the community.
What happens after Pride Month can influence a court’s opinion in a discrimination suit.
Genuine support for LGBTQ+ employees doesn’t stop when Pride Month ends. Inclusive employers integrate LGBTQ+ themes into everyday discourse. They engage in support and advocacy throughout the year.
Furthermore, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are pillars to be engrained into the very fabric of well-led organizations. The following DE&I initiatives help foster a welcoming environment for all:
Ideally, employers implement robust DE&I strategies as part of a caring culture, but there is also a clear business case. Creating a sense of community and belonging makes it easier to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, when your organization embraces diversity, promotes equality, and combats prejudice with strong DE&I initiatives, you are likely reducing the potential for discrimination / employment practices liability claims and litigation.
DE&I efforts are fundamental to the success and vitality of organizations and everyone within. Celebrating Pride Month fosters a culture of acceptance that enhances your employer brand and organizational reputation, while providing important allyship.
Because people are your organization’s greatest asset, it's crucial to prioritize inclusivity and uphold the rights and wellbeing of all employees.
We welcome the opportunity for conversation on this important topic.
Find Dwight Williams on LinkedIn, here.
Connect with the Risk Strategies Management Liability team at MLPG@risk-strategies.com.
About the author
Dwight Williams is the National Account Director for the Management Liability Practice Group at Risk Strategies. A DE&I champion with more than 22 years of experience, he provides risk advisory services to organizations of all sizes — from startups to Fortune 500.