The EEOC has a new Acting Chair. And employers should be doing a happy dance.

Victoria Lipnic

It’s Victoria Lipnic, who was originally nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as an  EEOC Commissioner back in 2010. Now, President Trump has named Ms. Lipnic the Acting Chair.

According to this EEOC press release, Acting Chair Lipnic’s prior experience includes service as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards, which oversaw the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Office of Labor Management Standards and the Office of Workers Compensation Programs. During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, these divisions revised regulations on overtime, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and issued the first-ever regulations for OFCCP to evaluate compensation discrimination.

Immediately before coming to the EEOC, Acting Chair Lipnic was of counsel to the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP in its Washington, DC, office.

As an EEOC Commissioner, Ms. Lipnic, a Republican, co-chaired the EEOC’s Select Task Force on Harassment with Commissioner Feldblum, a Democrat. Other notable items for Acting Chair Lipnic include:

  • She was part of the EEOC’s unanimous 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder, where the Commission held that intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person’s gender identity is, by definition, discrimination based on sex and therefore violates Title VII.
  • She dissented in Baldwin v. Foxx, where the Commission held that a claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily states a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII.
  • She also dissented to EEOC pregnancy guidance issued in 2014, with which the Supreme Court also declined to follow in Young v. UPS.
  • She voted against the EEOC’s revised EEO-1.
  • She “crossed the aisle” and joined the Democrats in the EEOC’s guidance on the use of criminal records in employment.

Based on my conversations with friends and colleagues of Acting Chair Lipnic, she is universally considered a pragmatic voice on the Commission, known for reaching fair, “bipartisan” compromises on EEO issues.

 

 

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