Business as Unusual: What Does The White House’s Executive Order On Diversity Training And Federal Contractors Mean For Your Agency?

November 2, 2020

On September 22, the White House issued an Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (“EO”). The EO will institute a federal ban on the use of “workplace training that inculcates in its employees,” or promotes the concepts of, “any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” The requirements of this EO apply to Federal government contractors, their subcontractors, and Federal grant recipients, among others.

Since the announcement of the EO, agencies with federal contracts and those in the process of seeking federal contracts have been thrown into disarray. While the EO does appear to only apply to new federal contracts and not existing ones, there remain many open questions as to what kind of diversity training federal contractors are now allowed to engage in, and what risks they may face in providing diversity training that does not comply with the new EO. As much of terminology used in the EO is ambiguous at best, the challenges to deciphering the EO and complying with it could be significant.

The EO is already being implemented. On September 28, the Department of Labor announced the establishment of a new hotline and email address to receive and investigate complaints under the EO.

Come join us on November 2nd as we talk with experts to understand what exactly the EO means, what agencies should be thinking about in terms of compliance, and perhaps the biggest question of all – what happens to the EO if there’s a new occupant of the White House in January?


Dismas (Diz) Locaria, Partner, Venable, LLP
Krista A. Nunez, Associate, Venable, LLP