Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that bans federal contractors from providing employees with "training sessions based on race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating." The order is part of an initiative aimed at countering what the administration characterizes as “offensive and anti-American” ideology that is “appearing in workplace diversity trainings across the country.”
Among other things, the order prohibits training that asserts that the U.S. is a fundamentally racist or sexist nation, that individuals bear responsibility for acts committed by members of their own race or sex, or that meritocracy in the U.S. was created to favor members of certain races or sexes.
The order establishes a complaint procedure for employees subjected to training contrary to its requirements. Contractors found to have violated its terms can face cancellation of current contracts and debarment from future participation in federal contracts. The order follows a similar one issued for federal government agencies.
The new executive order is likely to be challenged by employers on First Amendment grounds. If upheld, it could require significant rethinking of diversity and unconscious bias training programs currently provided to employees by federal contractors.