News & Insights

President Trump’s Order On Combating Race And Sex Stereotyping And How It Impacts Government Contractors

President Trump recently signed Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the “EO”), which seeks to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating,” and end “divisive concepts” covered in some of these workplace trainings. The EO establishes requirements aimed at “promoting unity in the Federal workforce,” by prohibiting messages in workplace trainings that imply “an individual, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

The EO covers government contractors and certain grant recipients. The EO seeks to limit and curtail the diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment, and related equal employment opportunity training contractors and recipients are allowed to provide their employees. The training restrictions in the EO appear to apply to trainings for all employees of Government Contractors and their subcontractors, regardless of whether those employees support a federal contract.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has been designated to investigate complaints and enforce the EO. In order to do this, the OFCCP has established a hotline to field whistleblower complaints alleging that a Government Contractor is utilizing prohibited training programs in violation of EO. The EO also requires the OFCCP to publish in the Federal Register, no later than October 22, 2020, a request for information from Government Contractors and subcontractors, as well as their employees. Those who violate the EO’s requirements may be subject to contract suspension or termination, and the contractor may be subject to suspension or debarment.

Government Contractors should take into account that the EO applies specifically to “training,” and not policies or other documents that employers may publish as part of their diversity and inclusion efforts. If the EO is fully implemented, its terms could trigger significant modifications to current diversity and inclusion trainings. Employers that anticipate entering into new covered federal contracts, and Government Contractors that will be renewing federal contracts after November 21, 2020, should evaluate their diversity and inclusion training programs in order to determine whether they are complying with the new requirements under the EO.