Executive Order Limiting Diversity and Inclusion Training for Federal Contractors on Pause for Now

On December 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide injunction as to Sections 4 and 5 of the President’s Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping (the “Executive Order”), which apply to federal contractors and entities which receive federal grants. This means that, for now, federal contractors and grant recipients can continue diversity and inclusion training without fear of reprisal under the Executive Order.

On September 22, 2020, the President of the United States issued the Executive Order, which declared that the policy of the United States is not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal Workforce or in the Uniformed Services, and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes. In addition, Federal contractors will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees.” The impact of this Order was largely understood to limit the ability of federal contractors to conduct diversity and inclusion training. Shulman Rogers outlined the details of the Executive Order in previous Employment Law Alerts, which can be found here and here.

The Court ruled that the Executive Order more likely than not chilled First Amendment Speech and was too vague to be properly enforced, and in turn issued an Order granting a nationwide injunction on enforcement of the Executive Order. This preliminary injunction is subject to appeal or further action by either the current or next presidential administration.

Meredith S. Campbell
Chair, Employment and Labor Group

Co-Chair, Corporate Investigations, Governance and Risk Management T(301)255-0550, Employment and Labor Group