Federal Court Issues Nationwide Injunction of Executive Order on Diversity and Inclusion Training

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction banning the enforcement of Executive Order 13950, which seeks to prohibit purported “stereotyping” and “scapegoating” based on race and sex in workplace trainings provided by federal government contractors, or by recipients of federal grants.

In its ruling, the court held that Section 4 of the executive order, which applies to workplace training programs conducted by federal contractors, and Section 5 of the order, which applies to recipients of federal grants, likely violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, insofar as they are an impermissible government restriction on free speech, and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, because they are impermissibly vague and do not provide clear notice of what is and what is not permissible expression.  The court held that in light of the plaintiffs’ (several non-profit community organizations serving the LGBT community) likelihood of success on the merits of their claims, as well as the irreparable harm that would result from enforcement of the order, that preliminary injunctive relief on a nationwide basis was warranted.

It is unclear whether the government will appeal the lower court’s ruling, or what the time frame for any such appeal would be.  Moreover, as a practical matter, President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s administration is likely to repeal the order shortly after taking office.  Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute will continue to apprise of relevant developments.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.