Due to the increasing need for diversity in today’s business world, many private employers have adopted and implemented companywide “diversity” programs. Overall, these programs have met with general approval and encouragement from government equal employment opportunity agencies and are cited frequently by the public, including civil rights organizations, as exemplars of responsible corporate citizenship.

Diversity programs typically include voluntary affirmative action plans that have as their objective measurable increases in the number of women and minorities in skilled and management positions. In most cases, the voluntary affirmative action plan is justified by a broad “diversity” goal — such as, for example, the need to ensure that the employer’s work force reflects the demographics of a community, a labor force, a market or a customer base. Other justifications include the historical underrepresentation of women and minorities in certain fields and the business benefits of having a diverse work force.

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