What Sets Us Apart
Constangy attorneys in the Employer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practice Group focus on partnering with employers—both large and small—to review, develop, and implement DEI programs that will enable each business to achieve maximum performance. We strongly believe in a results-driven approach where we can assist employers strengthen morale among team-members and also build confidence among customers, vendors, and the public at large.
With our deep DEI auditing capabilities, we are able to pinpoint areas for improvement in organizations’ operations where diversity, equity, and inclusion can be utilized as a competitive advantage. DEI is not just for large, publicly-traded companies anymore. DEI efforts are a foundational aspect that all businesses should be leveraging. Putting DEI initiatives in place does not only provide an opportunity to significantly decrease litigation exposure, it can also help provide an advantage over your competitors to increase the perspective and performance of your organization’s most valuable asset—your employees.
What We Do
- Conducting In-Depth, Analytical Diversity Assessments
- Piloting DEI Policy and Practice Audits
- Developing DEI Action Plans, including Voluntary Affirmative Action Plans
- Creating Custom DEI Training for your Organization
- Drafting DEI Policies and Initiatives
- Performing DEI Crisis Prevention and Management
- Drafting Effective DEI Communications Internally and Externally
- Assisting HR Professionals and In-house Counsel with Litigation Prevention
The work surrounding diversity, inclusion, unconscious bias, the intersection of characteristics such as race/class/gender, organizational climate, prejudice, and ethnicity are at the core of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) movement. At Constangy, we have created a firm that was diversity-minded since our inception in 1946—when founder Frank Constangy hired the first woman attorney when only 3% of lawyers were women. He later made Mildred McClelland a partner and she worked on cases with the Supreme Court.
As a result, we have experience partnering with our clients to assist with needs such as fostering discussion, understanding legal impacts, or providing advice and guidance on DEI topics. Now, we are expanding this practice area so that we can continue to help our clients as well as new businesses of all sizes incorporate a culture that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion—and belonging.
Below are some examples of how we have helped our clients. We are also happy to discuss issues unique to your business needs.
Our attorneys have developed and conducted trainings on such topics as:
- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and anti-harassment laws including examples as impermissible conduct or language, view of diversity principles and initiatives;
- An overview of an organizations current DEI initiatives and the laws impacting these programs;
- Company-wide training on what diversity, equity and inclusion are and how to incorporate these principals within company practices.
Advice, Guidance, and Review of Internal Company Practices:
Our attorneys are available to provide guidance and advice. Examples of requests we have received and responded to from our clients include:
- Counsel for companies from small boutique businesses to corporations with hundreds of employees on DEI initiatives, where we provide a review of their program to ensure lawfulness. For example with Title VII principles or diversity analytics on hiring and pay equity;
- Review of company internal trainings guides, developed materials, employee handbooks, and hiring practices to ensure lawfulness with an eye specific to the incorporation of diversity, equity and inclusion with the goal of identifying possible unconscious bias in company practices;
- Analyzing workforce demographics for purposes of developing reasonable objectives for increasing diversity;
- Analyzing employment activity such as hiring, promotions, terminations/RIFs, and compensation to determine whether any group is adversely impacted.
Some of our attorneys are highly experienced in with specific workforces and, because of this specialized knowledge, are able to provide DEI guidance to these unique groups. For example:
- Unions: Joint-management of a DEI Committee for multiple unions including the negotiation of contracts to include DEI initiatives;
- Immigration: The attorneys within our immigration practice group are able to provide advice on and review of company practices and develop trainings specific to the distinct needs and constantly evolving work of business immigration and the intersection of DEI.
News & Analysis
Newsletters & Bulletins
- Massachusetts orders closure of all non-essential businesses and implements emergency unemployment regulations to combat COVID-193.23.20
- COVID-19: Legal, Labor, and Employee Relations Considerations Regarding Layoffs, Furloughs, and Other Resourceful Employer Responses to the COVID-19 Emergency3.19.20
- Big trouble in New York State: Legislation would further expand sexual harassment and other discrimination laws6.25.19
- Add “Hairassment” to your vocabulary: Guidance from NYC rights commission bans “hair discrimination”2.19.19
- New York State sexual harassment training deadline is extended, but you’d better have your policy in place ASAP!10.2.18
- Employment & Labor Insider, 7.16.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 6.17.21
- Affirmative Action Alert, 6.14.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 5.26.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 5.13.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 5.7.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 5.4.21
- Sharpen Your FOCUS: Perspectives on Workplace Diversity , 4.30.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 3.26.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 3.19.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 3.12.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 2.19.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.29.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.22.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.15.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.15.21
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.18.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.16.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.15.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.11.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.4.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 11.20.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 10.23.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 9.11.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 8.28.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 7.10.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 7.2.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.26.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.15.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.12.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.11.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.4.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 5.13.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 5.7.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.17.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 2.28.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 2.11.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 2.7.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.14.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.10.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 1.3.20
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.20.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 12.6.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 11.8.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 10.31.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 10.1.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 9.20.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 9.13.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 8.2.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 7.19.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 7.16.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.26.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 6.11.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 5.29.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 5.6.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 5.3.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.29.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.18.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.5.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.4.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 3.20.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 3.8.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 2.25.19
- Employment & Labor Insider, 8.10.18
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.13.18
- Employment & Labor Insider, 4.6.18
Can business be a force for good? What happens when you have a noble purpose, put people at the center, embrace all stakeholders, treat profit as an outcome, and push your suppliers, vendors and partners to embrace key values along the way? Join Susan Bassford Wilson and guests Piyumi Samaratunga and Hubert Joly for this enlightening discussion. Piyumi is co-chair of Constangy's Immigration Practice, Partner and head of Constangy’s Minneapolis office. Hubert is former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy credited with the company’s overwhelmingly successful transformation and sustained success, Additionally, he is the author of The Heart of Business – Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism, which was published on May 4th by Harvard Business Review Press and can be ordered via Hubertjoly.org. Hubert is currently a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, where he teaches on issues of business transformation, corporate sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion. In this Podcast, Susan, Piyumi, and Hubert discuss the importance of embracing a new set of people-centric principles for this new post COVID19 era in business.
Auditing & Training
Auditing & Training
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Audit Services
At Constangy, we understand how important implementation and achievement of your DEI program is. Diversity and inclusion have been areas of focus for many employers for years now. However, with the momentum of the social justice movement, we see organizations placing an increased emphasis on efforts to further their goal of ensuring a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. Having a DEI policy is a basic starting point, but organizations that truly want to advance these concepts must dig deeper. Employers should consider adopting DEI best practices, analyzing their workforce and practices, and developing lawful mechanisms that will foster true change.
Constangy’s DEI Audit tools can assist an employer with assessing whether its efforts are designed to cultivate true DEI within its organization. Our DEI Audit tools are exceptionally comprehensive from start to finish. Important audit segments cover the breadth of the employer-employee relationship—from pre-employment postings and policies to post-hire practices and employee engagement. Whether it is employee performance reviews or workplace culture, Constangy’s DEI Audit tools will help you dissect your internal DEI efforts and practices . . . and Constangy lawyers can work hand-in-hand with your organization to plan and implement any needed changes. The DEI Audit tools described in more detail below are designed to measure an organization’s compliance with various laws and regulations that impact DEI, as well as the voluntary actions that employers can adopt to help “move the needle” when it comes to achieving a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
Our firm’s DEI Audit Services are different from what you might find elsewhere. These tools were prepared by employment lawyers with an eye for what matters from a variety of perspectives – technical compliance, EEO and harassment issues, litigation and EEOC trends, DEI best practices, and organizational barriers. We understand that DEI involves more than just responding to the latest fad or newsworthy event, and our Audit tools incorporate this intersection between employment law and DEI.
To facilitate these important DEI efforts, we have developed a three-tiered service approach:
- DEI Implement
- DEI Self-Assessment Indicator
- DEI Evaluation & Strategic Action Plan
Because DEI efforts encompass numerous components of an organization, use of these DEI Audit tools may require input from various sectors or departments, such as human resources, DEI, organizational development, talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, employee relations, and similar groups. Participation by this cross-section of viewpoints is necessary to obtain a robust and accurate view of overall DEI efforts and strategies. And yet, the tools are intuitive and user-friendly, so you can execute the assessment and have results in a few weeks, not months.
DEI Implement – Tier One
Our DEI Implement details specific DEI initiatives and programs that can be executed throughout the employment process and employee lifecycle. The DEI Implement contains sections on pre-employment policies and practices, post-offer procedures, terms and conditions of employment, employee engagement and culture, and a separate section for federal contractors. Each section lists numerous suggested DEI and compliance topics. Organizations can check off the areas already satisfied and circle other topics or ideas for further review and development. In addition to the thorough, eight-page DEI Implement, this tier includes an optional thirty-minute conference with one of our experienced DEI attorneys to address questions about your DEI practices. For a brief preview of the DEI Implement, click here.
DEI Self-Assessment Indicator – Tier Two
Constangy’s DEI Self-Assessment Indicator incorporates the same sections included in the DEI Implement, but provides an extensive and detailed questionnaire to be completed by the organization. Responses are automatically scored, and users can monitor and evaluate their own DEI progress and achievements, while also using the questionnaire to learn about and develop additional DEI initiatives. Given the breadth and scope of the questionnaire, we estimate that most organizations will need two to four weeks to complete it. For a brief preview of the DEI Self-Assessment Indicator, click here.
DEI Evaluation & Strategic Action Plan – Tier Three
The most comprehensive tier of Constangy’s DEI Audit Services is DEI Evaluation & Strategic Plan. This tier includes the detailed questionnaire described above in Tier Two, but in lieu of the self-assessment, a Constangy attorney well-versed in the DEI area will review and evaluate your organization’s responses and information and provide detailed feedback and recommendations. The Evaluation will include an assessment of each area of inquiry, noting any fields where efforts are not likely to result in meaningful change and if potential issues of legal non-compliance are identified. Constangy will also provide assistance with policy preparation, where necessary, and development of a Strategic Action Plan to help achieve DEI opportunities identified in the Evaluation. To the fullest extent possible, responses that are gathered in the process and the Evaluation have the protection of the attorney-client privilege.
Diversity, Inclusion & Respect in the Workplace Training
Constangy attorneys have long provided tailored diversity-oriented training programs, but in today’s world, training for employees is more important than ever. Effective training can help decrease a company’s legal exposure to claims of discrimination.
Lawyers can present trainings to senior management, supervisors, and/or the full workforce. Training may take place either in person at your facilities or virtually. Our programs are substantive and thorough—while at same time bringing down-to-earth content that minimizes “legalese” for all audiences.
Topics covered in our program range from unconscious bias and explicit bias to diversity and inclusion. Practical, measurable solutions and action items for your organization are presented. Our trainings are interactive by nature. Speak to your lawyer about planning for interesting anonymous polling of audience participants or follow-up quizzes for learning. Formats can also vary if desired, such as moderated panels to roundtables with scenarios for discussion.
To inquire about more details or pricing of training, please send us an email. An attorney will get with you promptly.
Diversity in Constangy’s DNA
Diversity in Constangy’s DNA
Seventy-five years is a long time. So many stories.
We’ve seen the rise of rock ’n roll, the civil rights era, the Vietnam war, the women’s movement—and inventions from microwave popcorn to fax machines to the internet. As times changed, so has the way we work. Gone are the days of smoking in the office and men having to wear coats in the halls.
But one thing is the same now as it was then—respect for all and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Some would say that D&I is in our DNA.
Perhaps one of our long-time clients best said what sets us apart: “There’s a soul to Constangy that’s unique and refreshing, that’s not found with other firms.”
The history of our firm is the history of our people—of the steps we took yesterday and steps we’re taking today. Travel along as we reflect on just a few of our mileposts: the journey of diversity and inclusion that spans 75 years…