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‘You’re Dead Wrong’: Federal Official Tells Mark Cuban it’s Illegal to Consider Race, Sex When Hiring

The billionaire previously claimed 'race and gender can be part of the equation' in his ongoing defense of DEI

‘You’re Dead Wrong’: Federal Official Tells Mark Cuban it’s Illegal to Consider Race, Sex When Hiring

Investor and television personality Mark Cuban had his business ethics called into question by United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Andrea R. Lucas.

In recent weeks, Cuban has discussed his thoughts on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies in his own businesses.

On Sunday, Cuban engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth conversation on X with "The Rabbit Hole," an X account with over half a million followers that describes itself as "navigating the discourse" in its bio. The exchange occurred after Cuban shared an NBC News article on "right-wing influencers'" criticism of DEI policies.

Throughout the exchange, Cuban detailed his own theories and business practices which include valuing diversity hires as an asset to placing his businesses in favorable positions for success.

Cuban insisted he had never hired anyone based "exclusively" on race, gender, or religion.

"I only ever hire the person that will put my business in the best position to succeed," he wrote in response to The Rabbit Hole.

"And yes, race and gender can be part of the equation," he continued. "I view diversity as a competitive advantage."

Lucas, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, responded to the nearly day-long conversation by providing some insight into the practices of DEI policies.

"EEOC Commissioner here. Unfortunately, you're dead wrong on black-letter Title VII law," Lucas responded to Cuban. "As a general rule, race/sex can't even be a 'motivating factor'—nor a plus factor, tie-breaker, or tipping point."

"It's important employers understand the ground rules here," she added.

In a follow-up response, Lucas shared an August 2023 post linking to a Reuters op-ed which suggested companies "take a hard look" at corporate diversity programs in the wake of last year's ruling against affirmative action by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

Cuban has not responded to Lucas as of Monday afternoon.

Lucas' reply marks the latest escalation in Cuban's impassioned, month-long defense of DEI practices on X.

Cuban is most notably the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and has a net worth of $6.2 billion, per Forbes. The investor has also starred on business reality television series Shark Tank since 2009.

Earlier this month, Cuban participated in a back-and-forth with other users on the platform, including X owner Elon Musk.

"DEI is just another word for racism," Musk said in a Jan. 3 post. "Shame on anyone who uses it."

He added, in a separate post: "Discrimination on the basis of race, which DEI does, is literally the definition of racism."

Cuban reposted Musk's comment and offered to help the X owner out by offering his thoughts on the practices.

"Good businesses look where others don't, to find the employees that will put your business in the best possible position to succeed," the entrepreneur said. "You may not agree, but I take it as a given that there are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration. By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified."

He added: "The loss of DEI-Phobic companies is my gain."

Cuban outlined the benefits of utilizing the DEI framework in commerce.

In his view, a diverse workforce that is representative of stakeholders is good for business. He described equity as “a core principle of business” that involves recognizing the differences between employees in a way that plays to their strengths. For him, inclusion consists of creating an environment that doesn’t cause employees “unnecessary stress” and allows them to “feel comfortable.” Although, he acknowledged, “it’s not easy.”

Cuban went on to compare the practice to healthcare, saying that, “DEI is not seen as a core competency in most companies. It's just a huge expense. Intellectually they see the benefit of DEI. But they don't have time to focus on it So it turns into a check box that they hope they don't have to deal with beyond having HR do a report to the board and legal tells them they are covered.”

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