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Executive Order 13950 Revoked by President Biden

by | January 21, 2021

In one of his first actions, President Joseph Biden has revoked Executive Order 13950. This Executive Order placed restrictions on the training that could be done by federal agencies and federal contractors. Executive Order 13950 was revoked through a new Executive Order titled “Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” As of January 21, this new Executive Order does not have a formal number. A number will likely be assigned when the Executive Order is published in the Federal Register.

Executive Order 13950 Revocation

Executive Order 13950 is titled “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” However, as we have noted in previous blog posts, the Executive Order acted as a deterrent to training programs on diversity and inclusion. Among its provisions, Executive Order 13950 required the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to review the diversity-related training given to employees by federal contractors and subcontractors. OFCCP was also required to open a hotline for complaints regarding training that might be considered offensive because of the use of concepts such as systemic racism or unconscious bias.

It was widely expected that Executive Order 13950 would be revoked quickly by President Biden. In fact, we predicted the move more than two months ago. A recent federal injunction had already stopped the enforcement of the provisions of Executive Order 13950 regarding federal contractors and subcontractors. However, President Biden’s new Executive Order now formally revokes all parts of Executive Order 13950. The revocation can be found in Section 10 of the new Executive Order.

New Executive Order Broadly Encourages Diversity

The new Executive Order does more than revoke Executive Order 13950. It envisions a broad scope of diversity and inclusion programs within the federal government. The new Executive Order states that:

By advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.

Among the actions envisioned by the new Executive Order are the following:

  • An assessment of whether federal programs have barriers preventing members of underserved populations from using federal services
  • A reallocation of budget priorities to promote equity
  • The establishment of a working group to determine how data can be used to “measure and support equity”

The new Executive Order does not have an immediate impact on federal contractors and subcontractors. However, it clearly signals that equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion will be priorities for the new administration. Employers should expect there will be additional programs aimed at preventing discrimination and encouraging affirmative action and diversity in the private sector.