Organisations that fail to get to grips with diversity are not only risking employment tribunals, but also losing out to competitors, researchers have warned.
A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), published this week, says organisations that fail to address diversity will risk losing out in the continuing 'war for talent'.
According to the report, employers must seek to understand diversity fully and how it relates to business performance to compete successfully - sticking to basic legal requirements will not be enough.
"In today's markets, organisations cannot afford to ignore possible sources of competitive advantage," said Dianah Worman, CIPD diversity adviser. "Fairness and ethical behaviour in relationships with employees, customers and clients are important to maintain corporate standing and reputation. It also helps to maintain and increase market share."
However, she added that, if not managed carefully, diversity programmes could also cause tension between people and have a negative impact on the business by triggering poor performance and lack of motivation.
The CIPD has launched a guide to help employers manage diversity in the workforce.
Legal profession still dominated by white men
Women and ethnic minority applicants entering the legal profession are still failing to reach partnership level, according to research by The Lawyer magazine.
The survey found that while more than 60% of trainees at law firms are female, only a quarter of partners are women.
The ethnic minority figures are more pronounced. The average number of ethnic minority applicants at responding firms is 23%, but only 3% of partners are from ethnic minorities.
The poor representation of women in partnerships was highlighted by the small number of female board members in the UK's top 10 law firms.
Three of the four biggest firms have no women on their management boards, while only one of the top 10 - Norton Rose - has more than one.