Business Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (SFFA) invalidated racial preferences in admissions programs nationwide. Specifically, the court held that the admission policies used by the University of North Carolina (UNC), a public institution, and Harvard University (Harvard), a private university, unlawfully discriminated against some applicants, notably Asian-Americans, by considering an applicant’s race qua race when deciding whom to admit.1 The court adopted a fundamentally colorblind approach to interpreting Title VI and the Constitution.

The same day that the Supreme Court issued its decision, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Charlotte A. Burrows issued a press release expressing her view that SFFA “does not address employer efforts to foster diverse and inclusive workforces or to engage the talents of all qualified workers, regardless of their background.” Chair Burrows added that “[i]t remains lawful for employers to implement diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility programs that seek to ensure workers of all backgrounds are afforded equal opportunity in the workplace.”

In this Taft white paper, attorneys Sohan Dasgupta and Andrew Murphy detail this decision and its ramifications on employment decisions.

Download the white paper here.

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