White House Order Against Diversity Training Generates Confusion

Some U.S. business groups are pushing back against a White House directive to limit racial-sensitivity training, which has caused confusion for some private businesses with federal contracts.

Trade groups representing pharmaceutical makers, technology giants and advertising agencies have issued statements protesting President Trump’s executive order. They say the order attacks free speech and undermines workplace equity. As they seek to understand the directive, some companies are putting diversity training on pause, while several federal agencies have canceled scheduled events.

The executive order, issued on Sept. 22, prohibits federal agencies, companies with federal contracts, and recipients of federal grants from participating in training that “promotes race or sex-stereotyping or scapegoating.” The Trump administration threatens to suspend or cancel federal contracts with companies that violate the order.

Many major U.S. companies have federal contracts, and many universities and hospitals receive federal grants.

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