Companies have spent a great deal on diversity training in the workplace. Most companies have found that such training makes for a better, more cooperative work environment. However, a recent executive order issued by President Trump about ending such workplace programs has raised concerns. The executive order that was issued in September is now facing a legal challenge filed by the NAACP and others last month.
HR Dive’s Sheryl Estrada reports that on September 22, President Trump signed “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” alleging that some language within diversity training points out current concerns like systemic racism and sex discrimination should be considered “divisive concepts.” The order prohibited the inclusion of such concepts in any federally funded training for the government or anyone receiving federal grants.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, along with the National Urban League (NUL), and the National Fair Housing Alliance, filed suit against the administration on October 29, claiming that the order is a violation of First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs also claim that the executive order violates the Fifth Amendment because it is “unconstitutionally vague” and failed to provide fair notice of what conduct it would require from the plaintiffs in the case.
Janai Nelson, associate director, counsel at LDF, said during a press conference held after the suit was filed in federal court. He outlined how the executive order puts federal contractors and recipients of federal grant monies in jeopardy of losing those funds.
“There is a foreseeable certainty of the executive order’s disparate impact on people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals,” Nelson told reporters.
The plaintiffs in the case are requesting that the executive order be found unlawful and invalid.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also written a letter to President Trump and urged him to rescind the executive order.