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Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. In recent years, investors and public sentiment pushed operating companies to overhaul (or in some cases develop for the first time) DEI programs and initiatives – including for board makeup. But the situation has become complicated in the wake of the recent US Supreme Court ruling Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard which held that race-based affirmative action programs in college admissions processes were illegal. Implications of that decision are spilling into the corporate DEI world.

According to Reuters, cereal maker Kellogg Company and its board are being targeted for its DEI programs:

“A conservative legal group [America First] on Wednesday urged a U.S. anti-discrimination agency to investigate Kellogg Co (K.N) over workplace diversity policies that it says are unlawful, and accused the cereal maker of sexualizing its products… America First said it also had sent a letter to Kellogg’s board of directors on Wednesday threatening shareholder litigation if the company maintains the allegedly illegal policies.”

Many companies are rightly concerned about the fate of DEI in their organizations and what they need to consider/do. To offer guidance, Ngozi will be leading a webcast August 31 called “Corporate DEI Programs After Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard“. The webcast will be held jointly with

Ngozi will be joined by J.T. Ho, Co-head of Public Companies & ESG practice at Orrick and Travis Sumter, Labor & Employment Attorney at NextRoll, who will be covering:

  • Overview of the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard decision
  • Legal framework governing corporate DEI
  • Potential vulnerabilities of corporate DEI programs
  • Mitigating DEI legal risks
  • Dealing with pro- and anti-DEI activism

This will be an important webcast for DEI practitioners as legal risks and uncertainties are unlikely to subside for the foreseeable future. Join us for this timely event.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile