ELI’s Response to OMB Memo

ELI’s Response to the September 22, 2020 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping and OMB’s Memos on Diversity and Inclusion Program Content

On September 4, 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memo outlining its serious concerns regarding content delivered by some diversity and inclusion programs and presentations to federal government employees. The Executive Branch subsequently clarified its position with a September 22, 2020 Executive Order issued by President Trump and a second memo from OMB on September 28, 2020. In the September 22 Executive Order, the President reiterated the federal government’s position that “[t]raining employees to create an inclusive workplace is appropriate and beneficial.” The Executive Order provided definitions for the divisive concepts and race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating that is prohibited from appearing in Federal training programs.

ELI’s programs, approach, methods and contents do not contain the kinds of language, positioning, or statements of concern to which the Executive Branch takes exception.

All programs in ELI’s Civil Treatment® Workplace platform, including our inclusion-focused program, (Building an Inclusive Workplace), are designed to help people work together for common organizational objectives and to work out issues as best possible in most circumstances.

ELI’s courses contain positive examples for leaders and team members to have productive and inclusive conversations, interactions and day-to-day dealings in their workplaces. The overall objective of the Civil Treatment series is to generate the best organizational results aligned with the organization’s mission, vision and values.

In reference to specific concerns presented in OMB’s memos and the Executive Order:

1. ELI’s trainings encourage the fostering of a workplace that is respectful of all employees and is consistent with the principles of fair and equal treatment.

2. ELI’s trainings do not in any way tell, teach, or suggest that all white people contribute to racism; nor are participants required to say they benefit from racism.

3. ELI’s training does not claim that racism is embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity, or that racism is embedded in the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.

4. ELI’s training does not utilize terms a-f which are listed in OMB’s September 28, 2020 memo M-20-37 to help identify the type of training prohibited by the Executive Order:

  1. critical race theory;
  2. white privilege;
  3. intersectionality;
  4. d. systemic racism;
  5. positionality;
  6. racial humility; or
  7. unconscious bias.

Note: Term g, unconscious bias, appears in some of ELI’s courseware but not to teach, advocate or promote the divisive concepts specified in the Executive Order on Combatting Race Sex and Sex Stereotyping e.g. that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist or that an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.

5. Overall, ELI’s programs are designed to help organizations build their own legitimate inclusive cultures; they focus on behavior, not on attitudes or personal beliefs.

6. Further, ELI’s programs do not teach or suggest either:

  1. that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country;
  2. that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil; or
  3. that any individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.

ELI programs are designed to adhere to accepted legal principles and its core Civil Treatment® course has been recognized by the EEOC in its 2016 Study on Workplace Harassment for reducing harassment in the Federal Workplace.

ELI’s instructors are skilled lawyers or human resource professionals with extensive experience in advising employers. Certified instructors learn our methodology and are taught to use our methodology, scripts and positioning to deliver ELI’s programs in their organizations.

If you have questions regarding this memo as it relates to your organization’s use or delivery of ELI’s programs  or want to learn more about how ELI’s award-winning Civil Treatment programs have positively influenced organizational culture in federal and other workplaces across the nation, please contact info@eliinc.com or your client representative.


Stephen Paskoff
ELI, President and CEO

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