Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives at Levi Strauss & Co.: Are They Enough?

by: Hadiya Faheem, Sanjib Dutta

Publication Date: September 14, 2023
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 7-608-932

Core Disciplines: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Strategy & Management

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First Place Winner; 2023 DEI Global Case Writing Competition

American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) had a diverse workforce and prided itself on not discriminating against employees based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. LS&Co. reported treating its employees equally and with gender pay parity. It had diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives in place. However, in May 2020 the company recognized that women held a minority of higher-level positions and Latinx/Hispanic and Black employees were underrepresented, as well. Consequently, the company hired Elizabeth A. Morrison as its new chief diversity, inclusion & belonging officer.

Morrison’s challenges included developing a talent pipeline of Black designers; ensuring pay equity in all the company’s markets; improving the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce; and establishing an ongoing inclusive culture.

With LS&Co. as an example of a firm with both DE&I shortcomings and accomplishments, students can understand the concepts of diversity, racial discrimination, pay parity, gender equity, and inclusion, and how to apply them in business settings.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Express a cogent understanding of why diversity, equity, and inclusion are good for the fashion apparel industry.
  • Recommend how fashion apparel companies can build a talent pipeline of Black designers.
  • Evaluate how companies can tackle the challenge of gender disparity and recruit more women to senior positions in organizations.
  • Develop ways in which companies can strive for workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.