Professionals from Generations Y (millennials) and Z (Gen Z or zoomers) expect their employers to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). They want to work for companies that support individuals of various races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations. Professionals from these generations are seeking employers that have created a diverse workforce, clear promotion track, and a commitment to dismantling systemic racism. Companies that want to attract top talent are making DEI a priority. They are also implementing action plans to demonstrate their serious commitment to DEI because millennials and zoomers are quick to recognize and criticize performative approaches. Companies that excel in the DEI space are likely to reap significant rewards, especially the time, energy, and talent of young job seekers.

This Article explores and enriches DEI strategist Lily Zheng’s definition of corporate social justice (CSJ), which is “an approach to societal change centered on the measurable, lived experiences of groups disadvantaged by society regulated by trust between a company and its employees, customers, and the broader community it touches, and realized through deep integration with every aspect of a business.” The Article starts by describing DEI approaches and programs. It then presents legal background, including analysis of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action decisions and their likely impact on DEI practice. This article then relates Zheng’s definition of corporate social justice to: (1) traditional ethical guidelines, (2) original debates about corporate social responsibility, and (3) contemporary support for environmental social governance (ESG). Integrating past theories with present-day ideas allows us to envision a fair future of work. Corporate and organizational DEI approaches and programs must challenge the status quo to realize the dream of a just workplace. This Article ultimately offers concrete recommendations for working toward corporate social justice.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.