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Birmingham Business Journal Quotes Doug Kauffman on How the SCOTUS Affirmative Action ruling may impact businesses

Doug Kauffman, partner in the firm’s Birmingham office and member of the Labor and Employment Practice, interviewed with the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) about how the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision relating to the role of race in higher education admissions may impact corporate diversity, equity and inclusion measures.

In the article published August 18, 2023, Doug shared that these cases do not impact outreach efforts intended to ensure sufficient representation within a company’s applicant pool. He explained the selection process is where issues may arise, emphasizing race cannot be used as a determinative factor in selection.

“We know from the higher education cases, these and others, that things like having quotas, which is making sure we have (a) certain percentage, is going to be illegal,” Birmingham Business Journal quoted Doug as saying.

Doug went on to describe a higher education admission practice known as the “plus factor,” whereby race can be taken into consideration in making an admissions decision along with all of a given candidate’s positive attributes, which has been upheld in court in the past. But he said it is now unclear whether employers can use the plus factor. 

“Maybe risks that were being taken by employers in the past in this arena might need to be carefully scrutinized before they continue to take those risks because you’re going to have individuals who think the laws changed or that any type of affirmative action initiative or process is not legal because of these cases,” he was quoted as saying. 

Doug helps employers manage their most valuable assets —their employees. For more than 20 years, he has counseled large and small employers, helping them stay up to date on the law, regulations, and best practices with respect to employment compliance. When issues arise in the workplace, Doug provides real-time solutions. He also handles complaints or audits by various government agencies, such as the EEOC, the Department of Labor, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he litigates all employment issues in court. Well respected on both sides of the table, Doug is frequently invited to speak at seminars sponsored by government agencies.