Promoting the gospel of diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t an extracurricular activity at the Department of Commerce—it’s an essential part of every employee’s job, according to a new memo obtained by The Daily Signal.
If the hard-nosed economists at Commerce don’t preach about institutional racism or display their preferred personal pronouns in their bios, they will face adverse action from their superiors. The department is institutionalizing the Left’s ideology through its employee performance reviews.
According to the memorandum dated Oct. 16, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility activities are an essential part of every employee’s work at President Joe Biden’s Commerce Department, which is run by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
“The inclusion of DEIA activities in a performance plan and critical element signifies that these duties are of such importance that acceptable performance in these activities are required for acceptable performance in the position,” the memo, available on the Commerce Department website here, states. “The attached implementation guidance explains where and how the standardized DEIA language must be incorporated into performance plans.”
The document lists eight options for an employee’s “Supervisory Support Activity,” directing staff to “Select at least one support activity to be inserted as a credible measure and performed in correlation to the DEIA performance requirement.”
Half of the options for Commerce Department employees read like a list of requirements for a DEI convert to prove his devotion to a pseudo-religious cause:
- Lead or support an initiative to raise awareness and emphasize the value of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace.
- Lead or support training that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace, e.g., encouraging team members to attend DEIA presentations and trainings.
- Communicate the importance of DEIA efforts and provide tools and resources that demonstrate support for these initiatives.
- Implement policies, programs, and a work environment that promote diversity and inclusion, enhance cultural competency and fairness, equity, and accessibility in the workplace.
- Implement best practices to support diversity and equity in processes such as career appointments and promotion opportunities. Creative solutions to improve processes are suggested, reviewed, and discussed annually.
The other half appear to fall afoul of civil rights laws against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and other factors:
- Actively perform focused outreach to underserved communities to attract, recruit, and retain a diverse workforce, e.g., sharing vacancy announcements, attending career fairs, and supporting internship opportunities, etc.
- Promote a diverse and inclusive organizational culture through outreach efforts targeted to increase underrepresented student and graduate applicants.
- Equitably deliver economic programs and services to underserved communities and/or small and disadvantaged businesses
Each of these requirements advances the Left’s intersectionality narrative: American history is a story about the oppressed and the oppressors, and therefore it is the government’s job to even out the scales.
Blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBTQ individuals, and others are “oppressed,” “marginalized,” or “underserved,” and therefore the government must prioritize them according to their skin color, sex, sexual orientation, or claimed gender identity.
This DEI agenda amounts to a pseudo-religious ideology, complete with a cast of heroes and villains, an original sin of oppression, and its own mantras, such as “Black Lives Matter!” and “Trans Women Are Women!”
When Commerce requires its employees to “lead or support an initiative to raise awareness and emphasize the value of” DEI, that often translates to “become an apologist for the narrative that America is institutionally racist, sexist, transphobic, and oppressive.”
Although diversity, equity, and inclusion sound like laudable goals, DEI training for employees forces the Left’s narrative time and time again.
Commerce’s requirements amount to a loyalty oath for employment, enforced by performance reviews.
Further down, the document presents “Performance Language Implementing Guidance” that appears to require all employees to accept the basic idea of gender ideology—that a person’s gender identity overrides his or her biological sex.
According to this document, employees must “participate in available DEIA training,” take part in employee resource groups, and “include preferred name and pronouns in your Microsoft Outlook employee email signatures and Microsoft Teams settings.”
Supervisors must ensure “subordinate employees’ use of correct names and pronouns, both written and verbally, to help foster a workplace free of discrimination and harassment.”
I reached out to the Commerce Department to ask how the agency would respond to criticism that it is enforcing a pseudo-religious ideology on its staff, in ways that may violate the Constitution. The department hasn’t responded.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment for an employer to force an employee to use gender pronouns against his or her beliefs.
The Supreme Court has struck down racial preferences in college admissions, ruling that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”
Someone at the Commerce Department who dissents from the Left’s DEI orthodoxy should consider legal action.
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