President Biden Selects New Leader & Co-Leader of EEOC
As one of his first orders of business in his new administration, President Biden has selected a new leader and co-leader for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The President has selected two Democrats, Charlotte Burrows (new leader) and Jocelyn Samuels (second-in-command) to lead the EEOC.
The EEOC is a federal agency made up of administration appointees, as well as career staff who are federal employees. Despite the new leaders, the EEOC will continue to have a majority of Republican members until roughly mid-2022.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal workplace discrimination laws. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by the EEOC (20 employees for age discrimination cases). Many labor unions and certain employment agencies are also under the EEOC umbrella.
The laws under the EEOC’s purview include all types of workplace employment issues, including: wages and benefits, hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, harassment and training.
Given the change in leadership, and given the Biden administration’s likely appointment of additional Democrats, it is likely the EEOC will be more hands-on in pursuing workplace harassment claims and compliance than the prior administration. This will potentially lead to an increased number of wage and hour claims, as well as a potential re-tooling of how the EEOC looks at whether workers are employees or independent contractors. Given the ever-increasing Gig Economy, this could have a significant impact going forward.