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Trump Names New EEOC Chairman

President Trump nominated Janet Dhillon to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Currently working as general counsel and corporate secretary with Burlington Stores, Inc., she would serve a five-year term on the commission if she is confirmed by the Senate.

Dhillon’s nomination came as a surprise because Trump earlier this year had named sitting commissioner Victoria Lipnic as acting chairman.

A Republican, Lipnic spent her career working for the federal government. This included assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Wage and Hour Division, and the Offices of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Workers’ Compensation Programs and Labor Management Standards.

Recent speeches by Lipnic indicate that she is largely comfortable with the EEOC’s current policy direction – with some exceptions.

During the Obama era, the commission engaged in class action lawsuits alleging employers bias by using questionable methods that drew sharp rebukes and even big monetary penalties from courts.

EEOC also expanded its reach into new areas, including immigration rights and adapting a novel legal approach to gay employment rights.

Lipnic has opposed the reporting rule requiring extensive pay data from employers to identify systemic bias against women and minorities.

Dhillon has worked for the law firm of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and as general counsel for J.C. Penney Co., Inc.

She reportedly has contributed to the campaigns of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former Texas Governor and current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The term of Commissioner Jenny Yang, who was EEOC Chair under Obama, ends in September. Another seat is empty, and the EEOC general counsel position also is vacant.

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