Concerns About Corporate DEI Are Real in the Post Harvard/UNC World

California Labor & Employment Law Blog

Two recent SCOTUS affirmative action decisions on reverse discrimination could affect the world of corporate diversity — and our clients. Here are some salient points from the California Labor & Employment Law Blog:

In 2021, in Duvall v. Novant Health, a North Carolina jury awarded a former white Novant Health executive over $3 million dollars in actual damages based on race discrimination allegations centering around assertions that Duvall was terminated from employment and ultimately his job duties were taken over by women and/or minorities as part of the company’s efforts to meet diversity goals that the company had committed to.  
Earlier that same year, Sal Kafiti, a male in-house attorney, filed a reverse sex discrimination lawsuit against his employer AB Electrolux and Electrolux North America claiming he was denied a promotion because he is a man and Electrolux’ diversity efforts led the company to engage in the discriminatory practice of hiring and promoting women above males to meet these goals. It is unclear exactly how the case resolved, but the parties ultimately filed a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit in July 2021.
Both of these lawsuits were filed in response to corporate diversity programs that were alleged to have hiring/promotion goals and quotas. Other similar lawsuits are already pending in the courts across the United States. In the wake of Students v. Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard and Students v. Fair Admissions, Inc. v. UNC, should California employers expect more lawsuits like Duvall v. Novant Health and Kafiti v. Electrolux in 2023 and 2024? What can employers do to help prepare for what the wake of these two SCOTUS affirmative action decisions may do in the world of corporate diversity?  

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