The Washington Post published an article Tuesday warning corporations about the prospect of emboldened action against corporate DEI practices in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling against race-based admissions at colleges and universities. The article noted that corporations have “long tried to eliminate inequality in their ranks, in part by encouraging the hiring of women and racial minorities.” Yet, these same attempts to allegedly foster diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the workforce have actually resulted in accusations of racial discrimination, and prompted litigation to do away with those policies.
The Supreme Court ruling, as the Washington Post noted, does not specifically pertain to corporate entities. Instead, the 1964 Civil Rights Act provided the framework for preventing discriminatory hiring on a racial basis in corporate settings. Nonetheless, businesses have attempted to rectify perceived previous injustices in hiring practices. Some of these practices have included racial hiring quotas and training sessions oriented towards minority demographics.
These activities, supposedly conducted in the name of anti-discrimination, have come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the new Supreme Court ruling. On September 30, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Fearless Fund grant program, which offered $20,000 grants to businesses owned 51 percent or more by black women, would be temporarily blocked from dispersing the grants. The fund had a lawsuit filed against it by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, which “argues that the fund violates a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracts.”
The American Alliance for Equal Rights has also filed other lawsuits against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-influenced corporate policies, prompting at least two law firms to remove racially-focused language from their program criteria.
Ironically, if this trend of exposing corporate DEI preferences continues, it will be as a result of the same legislation which the DEI policies were allegedly intended to support.