The Biden administration issued new guidance immediately following his Jan. 20 inauguration abrogating former U.S. President Trump’s Executive Order 13950 on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the Order). Implementation of EO 13950 had previously been stayed by a preliminary nationwide injunction entered Dec. 22, 2020, in California federal court. As a result, federal contractors or organizations with a federal contract currently have no obligation to revise their diversity and equity training to omit the prohibited training topics set forth in EO 13950.
As previously discussed, EO 13950 sought to reshape the way government contractors performed diversity and equity training. It prohibited, among other things, restrictions on training about affirmative action, discussion of reparations and implicit bias, and guidance regarding limiting micro aggressions. Further, the Order mandated employer postings in the workplace as well as compliance communications with organized labor groups.
On Dec. 22, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman, of the Northern District of California, granted a preliminary injunction after finding the plaintiffs in Santa Cruz Lesbian and Gay Community Center et al. v. Trump likely to prevail in proving violations of their constitutional rights. Subsequently, on Jan. 4, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released guidance stating that it would not investigate any agency or contractor suspected of violating the Order. Moreover, the DOL’s guidance states it would not take any enforcement action as a result of noncompliance with EO 13950 and will discontinue the use of the hotline setup to collect complaints.
The Biden administration issued new guidance on inauguration day making the abrogation of EO 13950 complete. Effective Jan. 20, the Order was revoked and the administering agencies were instructed to review any pending enforcement action and consider suspending, revising, or rescinding any actions against employers.
Given this change, government contractors may treat EO 13950 as having no further force or effect. Additionally, government contractors may now revert their prior training regimens that were altered in response to EO 13950.