Senate Confirms EEOC Commissioner and General Counsel


Senate Confirms EEOC Commissioner and General Counsel

The U.S. Senate confirmed Democrat Charlotte Burrows to serve her second term as a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) through July 1, 2023. The Senate also confirmed Sharon Fast Gustafson, an attorney from Arlington, Va., to serve as the EEOC's general counsel for a four-year term.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal employment laws that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants and employees based on certain characteristics, such as age, disability, national origin, race, religion and sex.

We've rounded up the latest news on this topic. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets.

General Counsel Position Vacant for Several Years

The general counsel position has been vacant since President Barack Obama's appointee, David Lopez, resigned in December 2016. Gustafson, the newly confirmed general counsel, has worked as a solo legal practitioner representing both employers and employees. She represented the plaintiff in a high-profile case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers in certain situations.

(JD Supra)

Majority of Commissioner Roles Filled

The EEOC has five commissioner spots—three are selected from the president's political party and two are chosen from the opposing party. Currently, there are two vacancies on the commission, but with three roles filled, the agency has a "quorum" (or majority) and can therefore issue new policies, guidance and regulations. The commission lost quorum when former Commissioner Chai Feldblum's term expired Jan. 3, 2019. The quorum was reached again when the Senate approved Janet Dhillon to chair the EEOC in May, following a two-year impasse over her nomination due to fears that she'd change the EEOC's position on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The commission currently maintains that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

(SHRM Online)

What Are the EEOC's Leadership Roles?

The EEOC is a bipartisan commission comprised of the chair, vice chair and three commissioners. The chair oversees the commission's policies, finances and organizational development. The members work together to develop and approve policies, issue discrimination charges, and authorize lawsuits. The general counsel provides direction and supervision to the EEOC's litigation program.


Look for More Guidance on EEO-1 Pay-Data Reporting

After a heated court battle, the EEOC announced earlier this year that employers must report EEO-1 pay data, broken down by race, sex and ethnicity, from 2017 and 2018 payrolls. The pay data reports—which are requested under Component 2 of the EEO-1 form—are due Sept. 30. The EEO-1 Component 2 online filing system is now available on the agency's website, as well as a sample form, instructions and FAQs to help employers submit employee pay data.

(SHRM Online)

EEOC Wants to Close Skills Gap

The EEOC focuses on eliminating employment discrimination, but the agency also wants to ensure that more people get recruited into the workplace, according to EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic. She was the EEOC's acting chair before Dhillon was confirmed and now serves as a commissioner. "People live longer and need to work longer," she said. So HR professionals should think about how they are recruiting and how to reach a more diverse pool of candidates. Employers can help close the skills gap by hiring older workers, formerly incarcerated workers and workers with disabilities.

(SHRM Online)


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