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Tashwanda Pinchback Dixon, partner in the firm’s Atlanta office and member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice, interviewed with Law360 about how the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on affirmative action and college admissions could impact businesses and their employment decisions.
In the article published July 10, 2023, Tashwanda explained it has long been illegal for employers to use race as the basis for employment decisions. As businesses review the new SCOTUS opinion, she said they do not necessarily need to overhaul their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion programs, but noted that they should review their programs to make sure quotas are not incorporated.
"I don't think it should change much about how employers have put together their DEI programs because they should never have [had] quota-based programs in the first place," Tashwanda was quoted as saying. "Employers or companies can still have initiatives where, for example, they may increase the pool of candidates for jobs by doing more targeted recruiting, but they still need to select the best person for the job and not just try to fill spots based off of any race-based quota."
Tashwanda suggested companies could set long-term goals, instead of implementing quotas.
"Instead of saying, 'We have 20 openings and we're going to reserve five for minorities, or people of color, women, etc.,' you create a goal, and you may say, 'OK, we want to fill 25% with a minority,'" Tashwanda was quoted as saying. "If you don't hit the goal, there [are] no repercussions, but at least you just kind of have it in mind. So that's one thing that the companies can look at to increase diversity without having to worry about violating the law."
Tashwanda is a trial lawyer who has successfully resolved a wide variety of labor and employment disputes as well as providing employment counseling and crisis management assistance. She represents management in both union and nonunion settings in the litigation of federal and state employment and labor law claims, with a particular focus on workplace safety and health (OSHA). She is experienced in litigating high profile and high stakes OSHA matters and is often called upon by clients shortly after devastating accidents to advise them through the OSHA investigation and litigation processes.
Tashwanda is a member of the firm’s executive committee and DEI Council. She is also chair of our Lawyers of Color affinity group, Balch BIPOC Lawyers Opportunities, Culture and Connection (Balch BLOCC).