New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) President Scott M. Karson issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s Sept. 22, 2020 Executive Order barring federal agencies, branches of the armed forces, and federal contractors from conducting diversity and inclusion training.
“The order, issued under the guise of combating race, sex, and gender-related stereotyping, instead precludes all efforts to do so. It represents an attack on the fundamental tenets of diversity in the workplace and the armed services. While we do not believe America is an irredeemably racist or sexist country, we also cannot accept the assertion that racism and gender bias have been eradicated, and that race, sex and gender are no longer worthy of consideration in decisions involving our armed forces and the awarding of federal contracts and grants.
“Moreover, this order also violates the Constitutional right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment by, for example, dictating the content of speech as a condition of making awards of grants or public contracts. The President, by executive order or otherwise, may not legally dictate what a vendor may or may not say to employees. Doing so is an unconstitutional regulation of the content of speech and will have a chilling effect on efforts to bring more diversity into the workplace.
“At this difficult time in our nation’s history, we should be emphasizing and promoting diversity and inclusion rather than making employers and contractors fearful that requiring human decency will run afoul of federal regulations.”
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Christian Nolan