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 recent ruling, which struck down affirmative action in college admissions, to support their claims.
On the other hand, Democratic attorneys general from 20 states and the District Of Columbia refuted Republicans’ allegations in a separate letter issued to CEOs of Fortune 100 companies last Wednesday. They claimed that the GOP letter was meant to scare corporations into undoing their progress.
“The letter you received from the 13 state attorneys general is intended to intimidate you into rolling back the progress many of you have made,” the Democrats told the CEOs of the Fortune 100 companies in reference GOP letter.
“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 were critical of diversity, fairness, and inclusion measures in education and the workplace even before the Supreme Court’s decision.
Although the court’s ruling does not immediately affect corporations, it could pave the way for prospective legal challenges from detractors of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings describes the GOP letter as a “flagrant 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.”
While Democrats agreed that corporations should be held accountable for illegal discrimination, they contended in their letter that Republicans were making the ludicrous assumption that any steps made to alleviate racial disparities are inherently unlawful.