President Trump has appointed Janet Dhillon, an attorney from the mega law firm, Jones Day, to serve as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Dhillon's background with a law firm that represents businesses is expected to bring a better appreciation of employers and the challenges they face in complying with a growing number of civil rights laws and regulations in the workplace.
In addition to naming a new Chair of the EEOC, the agency's general counsel, David Lopez will be replaced by a successor that is yet to be named by the President and the term of Commissioner Jenny Yang (an Obama appointee) ends in July. Besides these changes in the agency's leadership, the Republican controlled Congress already has acted to reduce the EEOC's budget, which grew significantly under the previous administration.
It remains to be seen whether these ongoing changes at the EEOC will bring about the kinds of changes businesses are hoping for; i.e. a less aggressive, confrontational and litigious EEOC. Among the specific changes employers hope to see is less expansive interpretation of employment laws beyond what Congress intended when passing those laws; fewer expansive subpoenas of records far beyond the particular matter being investigated; and a more reasonable approach to conciliating and resolving cases short of litigation when the EEOC does determine there has been a violation.