DEI Is Under Attack. Here’s How Companies Can Mitigate the Legal Risks


What happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? Leaders committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are facing this paradox with fresh urgency these days.

The irresistible force is represented by the mounting legal assault on DEI. In June 2023, the Supreme Court effectively ended race-based affirmative action in higher education in the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) case. On the heels of that decision, newly empowered activists have brought a barrage of challenges against workplace DEI efforts. Major companies are being slapped with formal complaintslitigation, and threatening letters.

While the outcome of any particular effort is rife with uncertainties, the overall direction of the law under a 6–3 Supreme Court conservative supermajority is not one of them. As such, some wonder whether DEI work is coming to an end. As one left-leaning legal scholar asked rhetorically: “If your whole job description has been to press for diversity, especially racial diversity, what are you supposed to do when pursuing that objective has been rendered effectively illegal?”



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