What's the likely impact of expected Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action in university admissions on the ability to hire diverse teams?

For answers, we reached out to David Lat, a lawyer and writer who publishes the Original Jurisdiction newsletter and also has worked as a recruiter for law firms. Here's a transcript of our conversation, edited lightly for clarity:

What are the implications of the expected Supreme Court decisions around affirmative action at universities for workplace diversity efforts?

There could be very sweeping implications. The affirmative action cases arise under Title VI of the 14th amendment, and they arise in the education context. But there are analogous laws that relate to the workplace, such as Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. You could easily imagine the logic of a decision in the Harvard and UNC cases applying to the workplace. This has been a somewhat murky area because obviously employers have had diversity initiatives, and many employers have informally been taking into account things like race or national origin or gender or other things as 'pluses.' This may create some challenges in terms of how explicit employers can be, and in terms of the paper trail. So it could be very interesting and it will probably be a boon for employment lawyers.


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