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Conservatives Say High Court Police Ruling Will Help Them Fight DEI

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last week in favor of a St. Louis police sergeant was almost universally cast as a win for workers, who now have a lower bar for proving discrimination claims. Conservative activists are claiming that the case will give them added power to quash workplace programs for minorities and underrepresented groups, says the Washington Post. America First Legal, which has filed more than a dozen complaints over DEI policies, is factoring the ruling into its strategy, according to general counsel Gene Hamilton. The nonprofit, founded by a former President Trump adviser, will be “citing this decision in cases as we continue to dismantle so-called DEI programs, which almost always overtly discriminate against American citizens based on their race and sex,” he said. However, civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union dismissed such interpretations as fearmongering that discourages employers from expanding workplace opportunities.

In 2018, Jatonya Clayborn Muldrow, a Black woman and veteran St. Louis police officer, sued her department alleging gender discrimination. Her transfer to a supervisory role resulted in a less prestigious position, and fewer perks, despite her rank and pay remaining the same. Lower courts dismissed Muldrow’s discrimination claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, saying they did not amount to “significant” harm, meaning a lesser title or a loss in salary or benefits. The Supreme Court was asked to consider whether Muldrow and other employees needed to show “significant harm” to bring a discrimination claim in a job transfer. The court ruled that it was not necessary to show significant harm, merely “some harm.” Legal experts agree that the ruling eased the burden of proof for workplace discrimination claims beyond lateral transfers. Proponents contend such initiatives are necessary to foster diversity and reach groups that historically have been denied advancement or locked out altogether. Critics contend they discriminate against white people and men, and are designed to advance a liberal worldview.


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