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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In January of 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a government agency that advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting emp­loyment discrimination – announced that President Joe Biden had appointed Commissioner Charlotte A. Burrows Chair of the EEOC and Commissioner Jocelyn Samuels Vice Chair of the EEOC as part of the Commission of the EEOC.

Burrows had served as an EEOC Commissioner since 2015, having been initially nominated by President Barack Obama. In 2019, she was re-nominated and unanimously confirmed for a second term ending in 2023. “I am deeply honored to be chosen by President Biden to lead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” Chair Burrows stated in a press release about the appointments from the EEOC.

“The EEOC’s mission to advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace is particularly critical as we work to rebuild the American economy and address the challenges of systemic discrimination,” Chair Burrows added.
“I look forward to working with the President, my colleagues at the Commission, Congress, and the American people to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at success.”

Chair Burrows served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she imple­mented the Violence Against Women Act, which was first co-sponsored in Congress in 1994 by then-Senator Biden. Before that, she served as General Counsel for Civil and Constitutional Rights on the Senate Judiciary Committee and later on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

“It is a privilege to be able to serve the EEOC and the American people in this capacity,” Vice Chair Samuels, who joined the EEOC as a Commissioner in October of 2020, stated in the press release. “The EEOC’s mission to eradicate workplace discrimination could not be more critical than at this moment, and I look forward to our work to fully and truly realize the promise of our nation’s civil rights laws.”

Before joining the EEOC, Vice Chair Samuels served as the Executive Director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law. During the Obama Administration, she was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and served as a political appointee at the DOJ, including as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Founded in 1965, the EEOC enforces several laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The EEOC is a bipartisan Commission comprised of five presidentially appointed members: Chair, Vice Chair, and three Commissioners. For more EEOC news, subscribe to email updates. To learn more about the EEOC, visit www.eeoc.gov.

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