Business Diversity Principles Need Federal Implementation and Oversight


Federal Government’s Business Diversity Principles Need Robust Implementation Guidance and Oversight

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) filed a comment with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) on its proposed Business Diversity Principles. In the current climate, as DEIA efforts are threatened, it is critical to expand the federal government’s efforts to eradicate inequity in the workplace. Without active federal intervention, minority-owned businesses and DEIA efforts will remain marginalized.

The Business Diversity Principles will provide the private sector with best practices related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). The principles are a step in the right direction and will help to deepen existing DEIA efforts. 

LCR’s comments address three key issues surrounding the Business Diversity Principles:

  • Highlighting concrete data showing the efficacy of a diverse workforce; 
  • Improving access to federal contract awards for minority business enterprises (MBE); and 
  • Including robust oversight and accountability measures for federal contractors when they subcontract with an MBE. 

LCR’s comments advocate for breaking up large contracts into smaller and more accessible components that would greatly increase the ability of small businesses to compete for contracts. LCR is also advocating for the federal government to support the creation of sheltered market programs among other interventions to level the playing field for MBEs. 

Far too often, MBEs are excluded from the approximately $694 billion in annual federal contracting dollars. Even if an MBE is utilized, often as a subcontractor, the lack of government oversight results in wasted efforts. As the federal government advances Business Diversity Principles, it must also commit to robust enforcement and oversight to ensure fairness for MBEs. 

The comments are available here: