WASHINGTON – Global tech trade association ITI welcomes a notice by the U.S. Department of Labor suspending all enforcement of Executive Order (EO) 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, following a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining Sections 4 and 5 of EO 13950 issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on December 22, 2020.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published guidance revising and superseding its previous implementation of EO 13950, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also published notices suspending their EO 13950 implementation.
“These actions are a welcome step toward undoing an Executive Order that fails to acknowledge the realities of systemic racism in America, fully undercuts companies’ efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce, and that was implemented contradicting all normal federal rulemaking processes,” said Megan Petersen, Senior Director for Policy, Public Sector and Counsel at ITI. “We’re encouraged by the initial responses from these federal agencies to the court’s preliminary injunction and we expect more agencies to follow suit.”
While ITI recognizes the progress toward overturning EO 13950, more work is needed to undue other discriminatory policies and procedures created in the last few years. For example, on December 21, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a draft proposal to scale back critical protections in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This proposal, styled as a draft final rule and offered without opportunity for public comment, would remove legal protections against policies that have a “disparate impact” on minorities and other protected classes. Under this change, DOJ would continue to enforce legal protections in instances of intentional discrimination. However, such cases are rare—disparate impact cases make up most discrimination litigation.
“We are deeply concerned about the substance of this proposal and its harmful effects on diversity, equity, and inclusion in America,” said Petersen. “We urge the Department of Justice to preserve existing Title VI protections by immediately halting consideration of this harmful proposal.”