Cara Crotty and Robin Shea authored an article offering insight on the impact that recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action in college admissions could have on workplace DEI policies, which was published across several legal publications from Bridge Tower Media, including Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

“This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the use of race in college admissions violated the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina, 143 S. Ct. 2141 (2023)). Although the decisions were limited to college admissions practices, they could have implications for employers and their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” Crotty and Shea explained.  

While the Supreme Court’s decision did not pose anything new or different in the employment context, employers have been sued or threatened with lawsuits over their DEI practices. Many of those challenges revolve around the alleged explicit use of race in making employment decisions and compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In light of this emerging litigation risk, Crotty and Shea offered the following list of DEI practices:

  • Setting placement goals for women or minorities that are based on objective factors, are reasonably achievable, contemplate gradual and incremental progress, and measure achievement by percentage of placements as opposed to specific numerical targets.
  • Analyzing selection processes to determine whether any practice has an adverse impact based on race or gender. This includes an adverse impact on white and male candidates or employees.
  • Reviewing DEI policies periodically to ensure they are lawful in substance and practice.
  • Using a wide variety of recruitment sources, including those that focus on diverse groups and ensuring that candidate pools are reasonably diverse before applying neutral, nondiscriminatory selection criteria.
  • Including women and minorities as interviewers where feasible and appropriate.
  • Training managers on policies relating to nondiscrimination, DEI and unconscious bias.
  • Monitoring internal and external communications for consistency of messaging around DEI.

To read the full article originally published in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, please click here.

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