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Judge halts Trump’s ban on diversity training

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge Tuesday night issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing an executive order that prohibits federal contractors and grantees from conducting workplace diversity trainings that acknowledge structural racism and sexism.

Lambda Legal said that U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman issued her ruling after hearing oral arguments on Nov. 10 on the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by Lambda Legal in its lawsuit challenging the ban.

The executive order, issued in September, and later Trump administration guidance labeled the discussion of intersectionality, critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, or implicit or unconscious bias in diversity training as “race and sex scapegoating” and forbid agencies from “promot[ing]” these “divisive concepts.” It directed agency heads to audit internal training curricula and discontinue these trainings, and to conduct a similar audit of federal contractors, putting those contracts at risk.

Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the ban in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a consulting company, an individual plaintiff, and six organizational plaintiffs in November. The organizational plaintiffs include LGBT Centers, an advocacy and service organization for LGBT seniors, and HIV/AIDS health and advocacy organizations.

From the ruling:

“The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that the Government’s argument is a gross mischaracterization of the speech Plaintiffs want to express and an insult to their work of addressing discrimination and injustice towards historically underserved communities. That this Government dislikes this speech is irrelevant to the analysis but permeates their briefing.”

“This injunction could not come at a more crucial time,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams, one of the plantiffs. “We have already had trainings cancelled because of the threat of this executive order, trainings that are integral to SAGE’s ability to do its work on behalf of LGBT older adults in a meaningful and impactful way that recognizes explicitly the impact of systemic racism, sexism, and anti-LGBT bias on our communities and the country writ large.”

The lawsuit is The Diversity Center v. Trump. Read the ruling here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/diversity_ca_20201222_order-granting-part-nationwide-preliminary-injunction

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