Court warns mandatory DEI indoctrination can violate the law

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

A ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the liberal enclave of Denver has rejected a white state employee’s claim that being forced to endure “diversity” and “equity” indoctrination violated his rights and his supervisors should be held responsible.

But the court at the same time issued a warning that such DEI campaigns “can cross the line into illegal workplace discrimination.”

A report from the paywall-restricted Colorado Politics site said the decision was “a warning flare to employers.”

The decision came in a case brought by Joshua F. Young over his claims that the state prison system created a “hostile work environment” by subjecting him to a training program that promoted leftist ideologies such as “White fragility” and “privilege.”

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The three-judge panel said being forced to go to a single encounter with such indoctrination did not rise to the level of a violation of civil rights laws.

But the opinion said DEI, if sustained, can created an abusive environment.

“If not already at the destination, this type of race-based rhetoric is well on the way to arriving at objectively and subjectively harassing messaging.” explained Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich. “It could encourage racial preferences in hiring, firing, and promotion decisions. Moreover, employees who object to these types of messages risk being individually targeted for discriminatory treatment.”

The report noted William E. Trachman of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, who handled the case for Young, expressed disappointment in the end result.

But he said, “We’re pleased that the court recognized the inherent problems with Colorado’s racially discriminatory training. We hope that this guidance from the 10th Circuit is sufficient for Colorado to understand the severe security risks that their training presents in the prison context, and to change its employee training to avoid posing a racially hostile work environment in all contexts.”

Judge Scott Matheson Jr. agreed with the ultimate conclusion of the three-judge panel, but complained that the majority did not need to “comment” on the training.

The report said Young, who is white, reported he was forced to leave his position as a sergeant in the state corrections department after suffering “severe and pervasive” discrimination from DEI training.

His attorneys pointed out how the training informed his colleagues, non-white, that he “was contributing toward racism and their oppression.”

Tymkovich added, “The rhetoric of these programs sets the stage for actionable misconduct by organizations that employ them.”

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