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April 16, 2024

DEI Programs in a Post-Affirmative Action Era

At our most recent Annual Members Meeting, United States EEOC Commissioner, Keith Sonderling, joined Veris Insights Co-Founder & CEO, Carter Bradley, for a fireside chat to speak about some of the trends he’s seeing within the recruiting ecosystem. This is a summary of their conversation on how DEI programs are evolving after the SCOTUS decision on affirmative action. 


In the ever-evolving landscape of DEI initiatives over the last few decades, companies have recognized the pivotal role early talent recruiting plays in fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. Amidst discussions surrounding affirmative action and legal implications, many recruiting leaders question “What’s next?” about the future of their DEI and University Recruiting programs.

Understanding the Post-Affirmative Action Era

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action, questions loom large on how employers who remain committed to DEI should proceed. Commissioner Sonderling asserted that despite legal complexities, forward-thinking organizations can continue to prioritize their DEI programs and initiatives. He underscored the intrinsic value in creating equitable workplaces, so long as efforts are compliant with the law.

Early Talent Recruiting: A Gateway to Diversity 

Many employers have embraced early talent programs as a strategic, innovative, and effective approach to cultivating diverse candidate pipelines. Commissioner Sonderling emphasized the significance of these programs in addressing underrepresentation within organizations. By adhering to compliance standards, companies can continue to effectively recruit from diverse backgrounds without compromising legal integrity.

Navigating Scrutiny: Commissioner Sonderling’s Advice 

In the face of increased scrutiny, Commissioner Sonderling advises companies not to panic and dismantle their DEI initiatives, but rather to refine their approach. By prioritizing intentionality and compliance, organizations can weather the complexities of DEI programs and early talent recruiting. Through thorough documentation and accountability measures, companies can uphold their commitment to diversity while mitigating legal risks.

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Check out more insights from EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling