Iowa’s Attorney General has joined with other Republican lawmakers across the nation to take a stand against race-based hiring. They’re targeting their own by taking on law firms. Here is the full story.
Republicans Against Diversity
In late August, Iowa’s Brenna Bird took to Twitter to announce that she has joined hands with other Republican attorneys general in attacking diversity programs.
Supreme Court Opened the Door
Citing the recent Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action at public colleges and universities, Bird said that race-based hiring is now illegal across the board.
But They Didn’t Go Far Enough
Bird and her colleagues also think the new ruling extends into the private sector.
Lawyers Are in Trouble
That’s why they sent a letter to the 100 largest law firms in the United States to warn them that race-based discrimination would not be tolerated.
Their Own Definition
The part that might be hard for many to swallow is what Bird and her fellow AG’s consider to be discrimination.
They Had Plenty to Say
The sprawling 9-page letter that the group sent out makes it clear that they consider race-based hiring to fall under that umbrella of discrimination.
They Were Bold
“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” the letter says at one point, with bolding and italics added for emphasis.
Don’t Play the Percentages
Then the letter goes on to explain that hiring practices which require a certain percentage of employees to be non-white is discriminatory.
Leadership Is Not Exempt
Further, the letter says that requiring a certain percentage of candidates for open leadership roles to be minorities is discrimination.
Interviews Are Off-Limits
And the group of attorneys general also wants law firms to cease and desist hiring tactics that include standardizing questions around diversity and inclusion during the interview process.
They’re All Politicians
There is clearly a political component to this development, as at least one of the attorneys general involved is gunning for a bigger position.
He’s Gunning for More
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is running for governor of that state. It’s a heated contest against incumbent Democrat Andy Beshear, and every issue could potentially be the difference maker.
He Came Out Swinging
Cameron, a black man, has jumped into the fight against diversity hiring practices with both feet.
He Bashed Identity Politics
Taking to Twitter, Cameron says, “Suppressing equal opportunity in the name of identity politics is a slap in the face to the promise of the American Dream for all.”
They Cover the Map
Led by Montana AG Austin Knudsen, the group also includes attorneys general from Kansas and Arkansas and sees the Supreme Court ruling as a foot in the door.
Don’t Tamper with Training Programs
Besides attacking the hiring practices of law firms, Bird and her cohorts also take issue with employee training programs that target diversity issues.
Implicit Bias Isn’t a Thing
Specifically, they say that training that assigns “fault, blame or bias” or that focuses on implicit bias is illegal.
They’re Firing in All Directions
It’s not just law firms who are coming under fire from these conservative politicians, either.
They Aim for the Top
Back in July, eleven other attorneys general joined Bird and Cameron in crafting a letter targeting Fortune 100 CEOs.
Cease and Desist
Similar to their directive to law firms, the AG’s demanded that the big corporations discontinue quota-based hiring for both employees and contractors.
They’ll Be Back
Both letters left little doubt that the attorneys general planned to follow up hard with their targets down the road.
They’ve All Been Warned
They finished up each letter with a warning: “If you choose not to do so, know that you will be held accountable — sooner rather than later — for your decision to continue treating people differently because of the color of their skin.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.