State attorneys general from Tennessee, Kansas, and 11 other states have sent a letter to the CEOs of 100 of America’s largest corporations, stating that they must “immediately cease any unlawful race-based preferences.” The AGs argue that in light of the recent Supreme Court decision against racial discrimination at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, private companies should be held to the same standard.
In the letter, authored by Kansas AG Kris Kobach and Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti, the AGs highlight the Supreme Court’s ruling and state that it should serve as a warning to all employers and contractors about the illegality of racial quotas and preferences in employment and contracting practices. They emphasize that companies must treat all employees, applicants, and contractors equally, without regard to race.
The letter was co-signed by AGs from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana. The AGs specifically name several major corporations, including Airbnb, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Snapchat, TikTok, Uber, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase, accusing them of enacting racial hiring, promotion, or contracting quotas.
According to a Harvard Business Review survey from 2022, more than 60 percent of U.S. companies had implemented diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs based on race or gender. Many companies, in response to social justice movements like Black Lives Matter, have introduced race-based hiring and promotion policies. For example, Facebook’s chief diversity officer announced that the company had exceeded its goal of increasing leadership roles held by “people of color” and planned to spend $1.1 billion on diverse-owned businesses.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on race-based admissions at Harvard and UNC has broader implications beyond the education sector. The Court argued that U.S. civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Title VII, which bar racial discrimination for entities that receive federal funds and discrimination in employment, respectively, are applicable. Additionally, some states have laws that mirror the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on racial discrimination in private employment, with some allowing for uncapped punitive damages for racial discrimination cases.
Not all companies may immediately eliminate race-based policies following the Supreme Court ruling. Some may continue to use racial criteria or adopt “proxy” policies that achieve similar results without explicitly stating racial terms. However, there are concerns that the decision may accelerate the trend of reducing corporate diversity programs, as revealed by a report by Revelio Labs in collaboration with the Washington Post and Reuters. The report suggests that diversity programs have been heavily impacted by corporate layoffs, particularly in the finance and tech sectors. Attrition rates for DEI roles have outpaced those of non-DEI roles, and numerous DEI professionals have left their positions in recent months.
The Epoch Times reached out to the companies mentioned in the AGs’ letter for comment but did not receive a reply.