Posted on November 9, 2020

Joe Biden Administration Likely to Overturn Controversial Donald Trump Diversity Training Executive Order

Jessica Guynn, USA Today, November 8, 2020

A Joe Biden administration would likely scrap an executive order from the Trump administration that restricts the federal government and its contractors from offering diversity training that President Donald Trump labeled “divisive” and “un-American.”


“I think it’s highly probable that this executive order will be rescinded in fairly short order,” Franklin Turner, a partner with law firm McCarter & English who represents multinational contractors and small and medium-sized companies, told USA TODAY.


Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit late last month alleging the executive order violates free speech rights in an “extraordinary and unprecedented act by the Trump administration to undermine efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”


The Labor Department said the elimination of “race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating in employment” was “a key civil rights priority of the Trump Administration.”

A White House memo in late September suggested rooting out “ideologies that label entire groups of Americans as inherently racist or evil” in diversity training materials by searching for keywords such as “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” “intersectionality” and “unconscious bias.”

Asked about his executive order during the first presidential debate, Trump said: “They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, it’s a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. And I’m not gonna allow that to happen.”

Biden responded: “Nobody’s doing that.”

“The fact is that there is racial insensitivity,” he told Trump.


In recent weeks, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which oversees federal contractors for the Labor Department, has questioned whether diversity initiatives at Microsoft and Wells Fargo to double the ranks of Black managers and executives over the next five years violate federal laws barring discrimination based on race. Both corporations say they believe their initiatives comply with those laws.

Turner told USA TODAY he expects a 180 from a Biden administration.

“I suspect that a future President Biden would be more inclined to issue orders and/or to adopt policies that cultivate and encourage a diverse and inclusive American workforce that is fully informed by relevant, accurate information,” he said.