EEOC’s Dhillon resigns, ending commission’s Republican majority

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Diving brief:

  • Janet Dhillon, commissioner and former chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has resigned, an EEOC spokesperson confirmed in an email to HR Dive on Tuesday. Dhillon’s last day as commissioner will be November 18.
  • Dhillon, a Republican appointee to former President Donald Trump, was part of a 3-2 Republican majority in the EEOC and served on the committee after her term expired on July 1, as permitted by Title VII. civil rights law. “The EEOC thanks Commissioner Dhillon for her service to the agency as Commissioner and Past Chair,” the spokesperson said.
  • The Biden administration earlier this year lawyer named Kalpana Kotagal to take Dhillon’s place, but that nomination has yet to be confirmed by the US Senate. A committee vote on Kotagal’s nomination in May ended in a tie.

Overview of the dive:

Dhillon’s departure could mark a turning point for the EEOC, which for more than a year retained the politically intriguing characteristic of being a Republican-majority agency in a Democratic administration.

This partisan divide has been a little more palpable in recent months. Dhillon herself joined fellow Republican Commissioner Keith Sonderling in drafting a August Wall Street Journal Opinion Piece accusing the Democratic members of the committee – in particular Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows – of trying to undermine the majority of Republicans by “unilaterally” releasing a technical assistance document that was later enjoined by federal judges.

The room prompted a letter to the EEOC Republican congressional lawmakers, who said the charges “demonstrate a pattern of partisanship and mismanagement that bears watching.”

Even externally, the commission has had to look into the conduct of former staff members with respect to burning workplace issues. Last month, a letter to the EEOC from an attorney at management firm Littler Mendelson claimed the agency’s former general counsel was sending messages to employers. cautioning them against adopting travel perks for workers wishing to have an abortion.

In this context, the agency filed fewer lawsuits against employers during its 2022 financial year compared to the previous year, even though its managers played an active role address critical workplace topics such as the impact of systemic racism and discrimination on workers.

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