The American First Legal Foundation and other organizations like it, have taken the position that all diversity, equity and inclusion programs are illegal since the Students for Fair Admissions Inc. decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. The groups have already filed actions against several companies for polices that include goals for the placement of people of color and women in leadership and leadership pipeline positions to match community demographics by a certain year; employee training and apprenticeship programs focused on underrepresented groups; and quantitative representation metrics for leadership incorporated into annual incentive compensation awards for senior leadership.
As higher education institutions, state and local governments, private employers and federal contractors grapple with understanding the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, No. 20-1199 (U.S. June 29, 2023), it is not surprising that elected officials — including 13 state attorneys general — have markedly different views about the philosophy and effects of affirmative action and other race-conscious policies. So, what should potentially affected organizations do in response to this legal uncertainty? We suggest taking a breath and bringing method to the madness.
For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.
Recently, the California Supreme Court ruled in The People ex rel. Lilia Garcia-Brower v. Kolla’s Inc. that California’s whistleblower protection statute (Labor Code § 1102.5) protects employees who disclose unlawful conduct, even when the recipient of the disclosure is already aware of the conduct. This ruling expands the definition of “disclose” such that the law now covers a wider array of employee retaliation claims against employers.
Section 1102.5(b) states that employers may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information (or because the employer believes that the employee has disclosed or will disclose information) about conduct which the employee reasonably believes is unlawful.
On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina et al., holding that race-conscious admissions programs used by Harvard College and the University of North Carolina are constitutionally impermissible. Both public colleges and universities, and private institutions receiving federal funds, are prohibited from considering race in admissions decisions. As a result of the decision, institutions may also need to evaluate other areas in which educational services or benefits potentially take race into account, including but not limited to the provision of scholarships or grants. There may also be significant implications for employers’ voluntary affirmative action and DEI programs, as well as potential implications for mandatory affirmative action for government contractors, as a result of the decision.
The trend of increasing workplace regulations by state and local governments continued throughout the second quarter of 2023. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance.
On June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, No. 20-1199, and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina et al., No. 21-707, holding that the admissions programs used by Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.