The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently received a new Commissioner. EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, Vice Chair Jocelyn Samuels, and fellow Commissioners Keith E. Sonderling and Andrea R. Lucas have welcomed Kalpana Kotagal to the Commission.
Commissioner Kotagal has an extensive history of working in litigation on behalf of women and other marginalized groups. Such litigation includes tackling employment and civil rights-focused cases. She has also advocated for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility issues. Furthermore, she worked as a partner at Cohen Milstein.
This partnership allowed her to address cases involving the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Affordable Care Act (ACA). She demonstrated her commitment to the issues above through these cases. As such, Commissioner Kotagal achieved membership in Cohen Milstein’s Civil Rights and Employment practice group while becoming chair of their Hiring and Diversity Committee.
Before becoming a part of Cohen Milstein, Kotagal acted as a law clerk for the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She graduated from Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination in July after President Joe Biden’s recommendation in April. Though intended as a bipartisan selection, the President typically nominates every member of the Commission. Kotagal’s indoctrination completes the Commission, as the EEOC must have five members.
EEOC Chair Burrows declared in a press release: “We are excited to welcome Kalpana Kotagal to the Commission. She has dedicated her career to advancing civil rights. Her creative approaches to ensuring equal opportunity, her legal expertise, and her commitment to workers will greatly benefit the Commission.”
In the same press statement, Commissioner Kotagal herself announced: “It’s an honor to start a new chapter as an EEOC Commissioner and an incredible opportunity to apply the experience from my previous work,” Kotagal said. “I look forward to working toward solutions for the issues facing today’s workforce alongside my colleagues on the Commission and in the agency.”
Those watching the EEOC can expect Kotagal’s name and input to appear in many of the Commission’s choices. As a commissioner of the EEOC, Kotagal will have a noticeable say in enforcing federal employment laws in the United States. One example includes employment screening regulated by many federal, state, and local laws.
As the EEOC welcomes its new commissioner, employers should consider reviewing their employment screening policies and ensure they comply with applicable regulations. One way to get started is by working with a trusted screening provider. The right partner can help with understanding EEOC guidelines for employment screening.
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