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EEOC GAINS QUORUM AND NEW GENERAL COUNSEL

On August 1, 2019, the Senate approved Sharon Gustafson as the EEOC's new General Counsel and Charlotte Burroughs (D) for a second term as a member of the EEOC Commission.  Gustafson had been awaiting Senate approval for almost 15 months, giving the Administration its first Senate-confirmed General Counsel.  The authority of the EEOC General Counsel is quite significant as the Commission has delegated the authority to the General Counsel to determine which cases to litigate, and some consideration is being given to return that authority to the Commission rather than the General Counsel.

Since the Commission now has a quorum to transact business, it will undoubtedly be addressing some of the controversial issues over which consideration has been postponed due to the lack of a quorum.  Those issues include new policies on sexual harassment and the controversial issues associated with sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Justice Department and the EEOC currently have conflicting opinions as to whether the discrimination laws protect LGBT workers, and a case dealing with that issue is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Another controversial issue pending at the EEOC is the Obama-era initiative to require employers to submit pay equity data with their EEO-1 Reports.  There is another nominee for the remaining open Commission position, and the Administration has nominated Keith Sonderling for this position, but as of yet there have been no Senate confirmation hearings. 


Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine

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