Republican attorneys general warn companies against ‘race-based quotas’

SAN FRANCISCO — Weeks after the Supreme Court restricted the consideration of race in college admissions, a group of Republican attorneys general warned the nation’s biggest companies that diversity quotas in hiring are “immoral” and said they would “vigorously” seek legal action against employers with such practices.

The letter — sent Thursday to Fortune 100 companies including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon — said the Supreme Court’s ruling against race-conscious admissions in higher education “should place every employer and contractor on notice.” While last month’s ruling applied only to colleges and universities, many in the tech sector worried that it would invite more legal challenges to the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that have become common among Silicon Valley companies.

Affirmative action ruling could be a blow to diversity in tech

“If your company previously resorted to racial preferences or naked quotas to offset its bigotry, that discriminatory path is now definitively closed,” according to the letter obtained by The Washington Post. The signatories were 13 Republican attorneys general, led by the chief legal officers in Kansas and Tennessee.

Even though the ruling itself does not affect a company’s ability to take race into account when considering candidates, nearly 70 companies signed an amicus brief last year urging the high court to keep affirmative action in place. They warned that less diverse student bodies could lead to less diverse pools of talent.

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, several of the companies doubled down on their commitment to their hiring practices.

Still, the attorneys general on Thursday urged the companies to immediately cease “any unlawful race-based quotas or preferences your company has adopted for its employment and contracting practices.”

“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,” the letter continued.

Representatives for Apple, Amazon and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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