Ex-Trump officials target 'woke' companies for diversity efforts
Activision Blizzard Inc. and the Kellogg Co. are the latest companies hit by claims that their efforts to diversify their workforces constitute illegal discrimination.
America First Legal, a conservative group founded by former Trump administration officials, filed a civil rights complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Santa Monica, California-based video game producer Activision last week.
The Washington, D.C.-based conservative group is “demanding that Activision stop using gender and racial preferences in hiring and internship programs and to again focus on video games that create shareholder value, not promote fringe political ideology,” according to an Aug. 15 press release.
It’s the latest move by America First Legal in initiating federal civil rights complaints against what it deems “woke corporations,” including Starbucks, Twilio, Morgan Stanley and McDonald’s, for violating the Civil Rights Act and the principles of equal protection and nondiscrimination.
A week earlier, Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg was named in a letter from America First Legal to the EEOC stating that the cereal marketer violates federal law banning workplace biases with its hiring, training and promotion practices aimed at created a diverse workforce.
“Instead of equality of opportunity, which Kellogg’s defines as ‘giving each person the same things,’ Kellogg’s employment practices are unlawfully based on ‘equity,’ which is a euphemism for illegal discrimination,” according to the Aug. 9 letter signed by attorney Reed D. Rubinstein of the America First Legal Foundation.
Stephen Miller, an adviser to former President Donald Trump, founded the America First Legal Foundation. Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff and Matthew Whitaker, a former acting U.S. attorney general, are board members.
These actions come after the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of affirmative action in university admissions in late June.
Following that, attorneys general from 13 states wrote in a letter in July to Fortune 100 companies to end their race-based quotas or preferences in employment and contracting, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.
That letter discusses how courts routinely interpret workplace discrimination claims underTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act in accord with Title VI interpretations. Racial preferences in employment and contracting also violate state law, the letter said.