GOP state officials threaten legal action over company diversity policies

A group of Republican U.S. state attorneys general on Thursday warned the country’s largest companies that certain workforce diversity policies could be illegal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision effectively striking down affirmative action in higher education.
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Not even a full month after this post suggested affirmative action in employment would be the next thing the Supreme Court majority would rule unconstitutional, GOP state attorneys generals have threatened to sue companies they assert (without evidence) have used race-based practices in hiring. Notable among the companies these attorneys general have singled out are Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Uber. The tech industry is an interesting target for these state attorneys general given it’s historically-poor track record on diversity across any number of metrics.

A brief look at Apple’s inclusion and diversity results show a workforce that is still 2/3rds men over the 7 years (2014-2021) for which they’ve provided data. Asian representation in their workforce has grown the most significantly over the same period, from 15% to 27.9%, while the percentage of black and Hispanic employees have grown by much smaller rates. Of the remaining highlighted companies, only Uber employs a workforce fewer than 60% male, and their ethnic diversity numbers have actually gotten worse in some respects (over 10% of their workforce was Black or African-American in 2021, while barely 9% of the workforce is as of the latest metrics published this year). But in the post-affirmative action American landscape, we can now expect even the good-faith efforts of companies to diversify their workforces to be challenged in court and for those workforces to be less-diverse as a result. We will learn the hard way that diversity isn’t just a “nice-to-have”; the increasing lack of diversity will result in worse products from companies.

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