On September 22, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order entitled Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping. The Executive Order requires contractors to review the anti-harassment training they provide to their employees and include additional language in their subcontracts.
The Purpose of the Executive Order
The express purpose of the Executive Order is to combat “misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world.” According to the EO, these misrepresentations are “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.”
Requirements of the Executive Order
To “combat” these “misrepresentations”, the EO requires that all federal government contracts entered into after November 20, 2020, must include certain language and places certain restrictions on employer training.
Federal contracts must now contain the following clauses:
During the performance of this contract, the contractor agrees as follows:
The contractor shall not use any workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating, including the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. The term “race or sex stereotyping” means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex, and the term “race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.
The contractor will send to each labor union or representative of workers with which he has a collective bargaining agreement or other contract or understanding, a notice, to be provided by the agency contracting officer, advising the labor union or workers’ representative of the contractor’s commitments under the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, entitled Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, and shall post copies of the notice in conspicuous places available to employees and applicants for employment.
In the event of the contractor’s noncompliance with the requirements of paragraphs (1), (2), and (4), or with any rules, regulations, or orders that may be promulgated in accordance with the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, this contract may be canceled, terminated, or suspended in whole or in part and the contractor may be declared ineligible for further Government contracts in accordance with procedures authorized in Executive Order 11246, and such other sanctions may be imposed and remedies invoked as provided by any rules, regulations, or orders the Secretary of Labor has issued or adopted pursuant to Executive Order 11246, including subpart D of that order.
The contractor will include the provisions of paragraphs (1) through (4) in every subcontract or purchase order unless exempted by rules, regulations, or orders of the Secretary of Labor, so that such provisions will be binding upon each subcontractor or vendor. The contractor will take such action with respect to any subcontract or purchase order as may be directed by the Secretary of Labor as a means of enforcing such provisions including sanctions for noncompliance: Provided, however, that in the event the contractor becomes involved in, or is threatened with, litigation with a subcontractor or vendor as a result of such direction, the contractor may request the United States to enter into such litigation to protect the interests of the United States.
The EO also explains that Contractors may not use any workplace training that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” Such prohibited training is described as training which includes the following concepts:
- One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex
- An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex
It is anticipated that this Executive Order will create a firestorm of litigation and until the Courts have a chance to weigh in, contractors are well advised to review their training programs and federal contracts to make sure they are compliant with the EO’s various provisions. Let us know if you need help from experienced construction attorneys to guide you through this process.
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