How the End of Affirmative Action Can Impact Employees
How the End of Affirmative Action Can Impact Employees

How the End of Affirmative Action Can Impact Employees

The Supreme Court recently ruled that affirmative action in college admissions is illegal. Higher education institutions cannot use race as a deciding factor when admitting students. While this ruling applies to some schools and not private employers, it is likely to have a ripple effect into the workplace. This means that, whether you agree with the decision or not, it may affect your job and/or company culture. We discuss what the end of affirmative action means for employees and how employers’ potential actions may affect jobs and company culture.

What This Means for Your Employer

Your employer is prohibited from discriminating against employees based on various protected classes, a few being race, religion and gender. To foster diversity in the workplace, many employers have an affirmative action plan and/or diversity initiates in place. If your employer’s voluntary affirmative action plan or diversity initiates is ever brought to court, they will now be scrutinized even more so because of the recent SCOTUS decision. Basically, employers fear that they will be faced with more so called “reverse” discrimination claims. Some are scrambling to update or even remove their affirmative action and diversity plans in light of the court’s ruling. This may affect employees at various employment stages, from getting hired to getting that senior promotion.

Recruiting and Hiring

If an employer is looking to diversify their staff, they may have implemented a diversity initiative plan to hire different races, gender, ages, etc. With the SCOTUS ruling, some employers fear litigation and may eliminate these plans. While employers are still required to abide by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and cannot discriminate based on race, sex, age, etc., eliminating diversity plans will still have a great impact on the number of minorities hired.

Discrimination can be difficult to prove. Let’s say, for example, you have two equally qualified candidates interviewing for the same position. One employee is a minority. If the employer had a diversity plan in place that pushed for more diversity within the organization, the minority may have had a better chance of getting hired. There is definitely arguments for both sides, but the point is that employers who are trying to diversify their staff, may now have more difficulty due to the SCOTUS ruling.

So, what does this mean for you if you are looking for a new job? While this is all fairly new, and we are not exactly sure the long-term effects of the SCOTUS decision within the workplace, it could mean that if you are a minority, you may have a little more difficulty getting hired by some companies if a diversity plan is not in place.


If a company limits or removes their diversity initiative plan, it may also be more difficult for a minority to receive a promotion. Diversity initiate plans help to eliminate an unconscious bias. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about groups of people that a person can form outside their own conscious awareness. Another way of saying this is people like to hire people like them. Whether it is the way someone looks, social behaviors, attitudes or interests, managers like to hire someone that they have something in common with. There is nothing wrong with that, if that person is truly best for the position and the company. However, in some cases there is another qualified candidate that is better for the company. Without a diversity initiative plan in place, minorities may find it harder to receive promotions.


Company culture is more than just those happy hours, company outings, free snacks and coffee. In fact, employees are happier in their jobs when there is increased employee engagement, productivity, creativity, less turnover and a positive company reputation. Studies have shown that a diverse staff promotes these benefits. Reducing or eliminating a diversity plan can interfere with company culture which in turn can affect your overall job happiness.


The recent SCOTUS affirmative action decision may ripple down into the workforce. Companies are now looking to edit or remove their diversity plans in fear of litigation. Employee affirmative action and diversity plans have helped to increase the number of minority employees within an organization. Without these plans, minorities, whether it is race, gender, age, etc., may find it harder to get a job or promotion. It may also affect company culture by driving down employee engagement, productivity and creativity. This can lead to more employee turnover which has a negative effect on company culture. Ultimately, whether you agree or disagree with the SCOTUS decision, it may affect your job in one way or another.

DisclaimerThis article is intended for informational purposes only. It provides general information and is not intended and should not be construed as professional advice. The author is not your attorney, accountant, financial planner or any other professional and no professional-client relationship is created. We do not represent that the information provided is accurate or up-to-date as laws and regulations are always changing. If you have an issue that requires professional help, you should contact the appropriate professional to help you on your specific set of facts. Please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information.

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