The Labor Department has issued guidance on issues arising under the recent Trump administration order banning certain content in diversity and inclusiveness type training in both the federal workplace and by government contractors.
Such training is essentially on indefinite hold inside the government pending review of OPM of the materials used, as required by the order. The Labor Department guidance focuses on considerations for contractors but also in general provides the most detailed definitions to date from the administration regarding what is prohibited, including that:
* “Race or sex stereotyping means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to an entire race or sex, or to individuals because of their race or sex.”
* “Race or sex scapegoating means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex, because of their race or sex. It encompasses any claim that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of their race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.”
* “Race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating includes the concepts that: One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.”
* “Unconscious or implicit bias training is prohibited to the extent it teaches or implies that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, and/or national origin, is racist, sexist, oppressive, or biased, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
* “Training is not prohibited if it is designed to inform workers, or foster discussion, about pre-conceptions, opinions, or stereotypes that people—regardless of their race or sex—may have regarding people who are different, which could influence a worker’s conduct or speech and be perceived by others as offensive.”
Under the order, federal officials who approve training for federal employees running afoul of the order are subject to disciplinary actions, while contractors that conduct such training for their own employees are subject to loss of their contracts and potential debarment from future contracting with the government.