The worst thing to happen to Corporate America since Sarbanes-Oxley is diversity and inclusion.

For the sake of being politically correct and no other discernible purpose, every company must now have an entire administrative function that does nothing but suck the life out of every single employee and destroy the career of anyone who even thinks the words “skinny Christian white guy.”

Almost forgot, they also attend conferences with fascinating agenda topics like “The Challenge of Measuring Offensiveness,” “Demystifying Microaggressions,” “Building Inclusive Products,” “#WorkingWhile Muslim” and the always popular “Mental Health, Self Care and Working with Trauma in the Era of #metoo #blacklivesmatter and Other Global Crises.”

Also can someone please tell me what LGBTIQA+ stands for and why human sexuality is suddenly a workplace topic? Sounds sort of offensive to me.

What mystifies me is the stated mission of the company that puts on all these Tech Inclusion conferences. At Change Catalyst, the goal is to “drive solutions to diversity and inclusion.”

OK, I’ll bite. If the solutions are conversations, training and conferences, then I have just one question: What problem are they supposed to be solving? Never mind that the sentence makes no sense, since it implies that “diversity and inclusion” is the problem. They may actually be onto something there.

Just for kicks I’m going to assume that the problem is lack of diversity in the workplace. But the data shows that all this attention and money spent on diversity and inclusion has not changed a thing in terms of underrepresentation among women and people of color. And all the training does is make everyone miserable – you can’t even joke around or compliment anyone anymore without fear of crossing some kind of stupid line.

The reason of course is that lack of diversity is largely a pipeline problem. There simply aren’t enough minorities and women getting appropriate degrees. At least that’s what the data shows loud and clear. Instead of dealing with that, all these diversity and inclusion organizations do is tax Corporate America. They serve absolutely no purpose and have zero business impact, except of course to increase expenses and decrease profits.

The irony is, companies would kill to get more minorities and women on board so they can boast better diversity numbers than their peers and get some positive PR for a change. That’s a no-brainer. But they can’t without lowering their standards and denying employment and promotions to more qualified candidates. Of course, just saying that out loud can get you fired these days, if not tarred and feathered and run out of town.

Quick quiz: Can you find the white guy in this pic from Change Catalyst?

Answer: It’s a trick question. There are none. Must be a pipeline problem.

That said, it’s sort of hard for me to have any sympathy for corporations that choose to follow the PC mob on this nonsense. Diversity and inclusion is entirely self-inflicted. Unlike Sarbanes-Oxley, diversity and inclusion is not a law, a regulation or even a set of government rules like Title IX, which turns college administrations into kangaroo courts that deny students due process. It’s entirely voluntary. So there is that.

Want to know how I advise corporate executives on this sort of thing? This is what I tell them: Don’t break the law. Try not to do anything stupid. And if someone at your company does either of those two things, fix it. That’s how you avoid the diversity and inclusion tax. Simple as that.

One last thing. Before attending a Tech Inclusion event you might want to check out their official Code of Conduct, which defines harassment that will not be tolerated as follows:

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

So I’m guessing that grabbing someone’s butt and saying, “Nice!” is probably not OK.

Image credit Change Catalyst Facebook page