Bloomberg Law
March 3, 2021, 3:02 PMUpdated: March 3, 2021, 5:26 PM

White House Diversity Training Memo Reverses Trump Actions (1)

Louis C. LaBrecque
Louis C. LaBrecque

U.S. agencies should immediately roll back all actions related to Trump-era executive orders and guidance that barred them, and federal contractors, from engaging in “divisive” diversity training that involved “scapegoating” based on race and sex, according to a memo from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Dated March 2, the memo implements an executive order signed Jan. 20 by President Joe Biden that revoked an order issued in September by former President Donald Trump.

Agencies should ensure when soliciting diversity training contracts that they aren’t using language connected with the Trump order and the previous OMB guidance, the new memo says. To the extent that such language appears in existing contracts, agencies should “ensure such provisions are not enforced,” it says.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs already has reversed some actions related to the earlier order and guidance. For example, the OFCCP in January closed tip lines the Trump administration set up to allow employees of federal contractors to report diversity trainings that ran afoul of its policies.

Parts of the Trump order also were paused in December, when a federal judge in San Jose, Calif., blocked its ban on “divisive” workplace diversity training conducted by federal contractors, nonprofits, and other recipients of federal funding, while leaving in place the prohibition on U.S. agencies and the military educating personnel on issues like “White privilege.”

The Trump order’s restrictions on contractors and grants likely violate the U.S. Constitution’s free speech and due process protections, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said in her ruling. She issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of those parts of the diversity training order nationwide that was still in place when Biden took action to reverse the order.

—With assistance from Paige Smith

(Updated with additional reporting throughout.)

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