LGBT advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate President Donald Trump’s September executive order banning the government from working with contractors that conduct “any form of race or sex stereotyping,” including diversity training.
The groups receive federal grants and contracts to provide multiple services and health care to LGBT individuals. Their lawsuit, filed Monday in a California federal court, contends that the order limits them from using “scientific and medical-based information regarding systemic race or sex disparities in the provision of medical treatment” when training their staff.
The organizations say they provide training to their staff “to prevent and address discrimination against the populations they serve,” which includes information “about how systemic racism and implicit bias contribute to health disparities, mortality, and disproportionate criminalization.”
Trump’s executive order explicitly prohibits contractors from using any workplace training “that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.”
The Labor Department clarified that “race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating” includes using concepts in training that suggest “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” or that “any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”
The lawsuit argues that the order violates freedom of speech protections and is overly vague as to what conduct would violate the order.
The advocacy groups say that if the order is allowed to stand, “more people will fall out of care, become homeless, fail to get tested, decline to take a vaccine when one becomes available, sicken, and even die.”
Opposition building: Groups from across the political spectrum have lined up in opposition to Trump’s order.
More than 150 trade groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged the president to abandon the executive order, warning that it will “lead to non-meritorious investigations, and hinder the ability of employers to implement critical programs to promote diversity and combat discrimination in the workplace.”
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League and National Fair Housing Alliance also filed a lawsuit over the order late last month.
This blog originally appeared at Politico on November 3, 2020. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Rebecca Rainey is an employment and immigration reporter with POLITICO Pro and the author of the Morning Shift newsletter.