EEOC adds fourth member with fifth confirmed

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    EEOC

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been operating with just three commissioners instead of its full complement of five, now has a fourth member.

    Keith E. Sonderling, former deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage and hour division, was sworn into office Wednesday, leaving the commission with just one vacancy, the agency said in a statement.

    Mr. Sonderling was nominated by President Trump in July 2019, re-nominated in March, and confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 22 with a 52-41 vote, for a term expiring July 1, 2024. He has been designated the chair’s vice chairman.

    The wage and hour division enforces federal labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s labor provisions, the EEOC said in its statement. 

    Before being named deputy administrator, Mr. Sonderling was acting administrator, and an attorney with the Gunster law firm in West Palm Beach, Florida.

    Mr. Sonderling joins Republicans chair Janet Dhillon and Victoria A. Lipnic and Democrat Charlotte A. Burrows on the commission.

    The U.S. Senate has also voted to confirm Republican Andrea R. Lucas, an associate attorney with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington, D.C., as a commissioner to replace Ms. Lipnic, whose term has expired.  She is a member of the firm’s labor & employment practice group and its litigation department and represents employers.

    In addition, the Senate has confirmed as commissioner for the second Democratic slot Jocelyn Samuels, the executive director of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy. Ms. Samuels’ previous positions include senior policy attorney with the EEOC and labor counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

    After their installation, the commission will have a full complement of commissioners for the first time during the Trump administration.

    Observers have said that with only three commissioners, the EEOC continued to file charges and lawsuits, but was not pursuing its mandate to combat discrimination as vigorously as it could have.

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