U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. September 30, 2022. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

The Supreme Court just issued two decisions that will affect the legal landscape for employers for years to come. Although the Court’s rulings on affirmative action and religious accommodation will have different short-term impacts, it is highly likely that each decision will give rise to new legal challenges that could significantly alter how employers hire and manage their workers.

The first decision, in the much-discussed UNC and Harvard affirmative action cases, didn’t actually address employment law and, because employers are already generally prohibited from taking race into account in hiring and promotions, won’t immediately change the legal landscape for most companies. But, for supporters of business diversity programs, the ruling contains troubling language that could have a much greater impact than has been reported.

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