Biden Administration Continues Actions Aimed at Addressing and Advocating for Racial and Gender Equality

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, to affirm that “the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”

As an immediate first step, E.O. 13985 revoked E.O. 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, which restricted the availability of workplace diversity training and programs for federal employees and government contractors, or use of federal grants for these purposes. 

On March 2, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a memo providing further guidance on the revocation of E.O. 13950 with instructions for agencies on rolling back actions taken pursuant to E.O. 13950. This includes no longer including boilerplate language from E.O. 13950 in federal grants and contracts and, in contracts where this language already appears, not enforcing those provisions. 

In addition, the memo rescinded OMB Memorandum M-20-37, Ending Employee Trainings that Use Divisive Propaganda to Undermine the Principle of Fair and Equal Treatment for All (September 28, 2020) and Memorandum M-20-34, Training in the Federal Government (September 4, 2020), which provided implementation guidance of E.O. 13950. 

On March 8, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order on Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council, stating that it is the policy of his administration “to establish and pursue a comprehensive approach to ensure that the Federal Government is working to advance equal rights and opportunities, regardless of gender or gender identity, in advancing domestic and foreign policy — including by promoting workplace diversity, fairness, and inclusion across the Federal workforce and military.”

President Biden has given the Gender Policy Council 200 days in which to develop and submit a “government-wide strategy for advancing gender equity and equality in the United States.”

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment legal compliance needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 678-439-6236.

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