Recent actions coming from the nation’s highest court may leave many corporations wondering whether their efforts at improving diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) in their workplace will be undone

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively prevented college and universities from using race as a factor during the admissions process, finding that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision does not impact workplace diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) efforts directly, however, because employment discrimination issues are governed by a separate law — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Nonetheless, the decision suggests that the Court has adopted a “color blind” approach to race discrimination issues, according to David Glasgow, Executive Director of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at NYU’s School of Law. With the Court’s decision, there is a “legitimate fear that in a future case the U.S. Supreme Court will extend the same logic over to employment discrimination and prevent companies from taking into account race, sex, national origin, or other protected characteristics when making employment decisions, even when trying to correct for a large imbalance in their workforce,” Glasgow explains.