Today, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, deciding two companion cases challenging race-based admissions practices at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina. As many predicted, the Court held that using race as a factor in public college admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and, when carried out by institutions receiving federal funding, violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Today’s decision upends the Court’s prior view that permitted race-conscious admissions when they serve a compelling government interest: a practice that was first approved by the Court forty-five years ago.
The Court’s Rationale
Anticipating the ripple effect of today’s decision across corporate America, more than eighty corporations and business groups submitted briefs supporting the universities’ position.
Employers should take note of the Court’s rationales for ending race-conscious programs at colleges and universities. The same rationales may be used to support challenges to common workplace practices. According to Justice Robert’s majority opinion,
What Actions Can Employers Take Now?
Today’s decision likely signals forthcoming challenges to employment policies that are arguably race-conscious. Employers should consider mitigating their risk of such challenges by:
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