Companies Abandoning DEI Efforts Since Supreme Court's Affirmative Action Decision: Report

(ilkercelik, Grabien)
November 27, 2023

Since the Supreme Court in June struck down affirmative action at universities, companies across the country are cutting their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, according to a newly released report from a DEI consulting firm.

The firm, Paradigm, reported that the percentage of companies with DEI budgets has decreased by 4 points since last year, while the percentage of companies with DEI "strategies" has decreased by 9 points. Paradigm warned DEI supporters that the trend indicates "significant risk to DEI progress in 2024 and beyond."

While most companies still fund DEI trainings for employees, only 35 percent "measure the impact" of the trainings, the Paradigm report found, and only 26 percent "analyze hiring rates by race/ethnicity."

DEI initiatives swept U.S. companies and government agencies in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. At FEMA, for example, employees attended trainings demanding that participants acknowledge "systemic racism" and "white supremacy," the Washington Free Beacon reported in August.

The Supreme Court's June decision to strike down universities' affirmative action polices has affected DEI programs even beyond the classroom, however. Multiple law firms are facing lawsuits that accuse them of unlawfully discriminating against white applicants for paid DEI fellowships, while Columbia University Law School journals in July delayed their masthead decisions following the ruling.

The Paradigm report specifically mentions the Supreme Court ruling, claiming the decision will "diminish the diversity" of employees.

Companies are dealing with multiple "external forces" pushing back on DEI, the report noted. Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, for example, this year banned the state's public colleges and universities from spending money on DEI programs, saying the initialism is "better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination."