Democratic leaders are rejecting the idea that measures to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion at workplaces constitute unlawful discrimination.
Thirteen Republican attorneys general previously warned that corporations could face severe legal penalties for discriminating against different groups, even for legitimate reasons, according to Politico.
They specifically criticized quotas, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action in college admissions to support their claims.
However, Democratic attorneys general contradicted Republicans’ claims in a separate letter sent to CEOs of Fortune 100 businesses on Wednesday. They alleged that the GOP letter intended to intimidate corporations into undoing their progress.
“We write to reassure you that corporate efforts to recruit diverse workforces and create inclusive work environments are legal,” the Democrats said, “and reduce corporate risk for claims of discrimination.”
Republicans frequently opposed DEI measures in the workplace and schools even before the Supreme Court’s ruling.
While the ruling does not immediately affect corporations, it did pave the way for prospective legal challenges from detractors of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings described the GOP letter as a double standard.
“We are now witnessing the next set of attacks on our efforts to improve diversity in society as a whole,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, per Politico. “While it’s not surprising, it’s shameful.”
The Democrats claimed in their letter that while they agree that businesses should be held accountable for illegal discrimination, Republicans were making the absurd claim that all actions taken to reduce racial disparities are inherently unlawful.
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