Although the Secretary of Labor position has yet to be filled, one of the rumored frontrunners, Victoria Lipnic, has taken her place as acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Lipnic has been a Commissioner of the EEOC since 2010, and has a breadth of experience in federal labor and employment law.
In a recent presentation in Chicago, Lipnic indicated that she will focus on cases involving age discrimination and equal pay while finding ways to foster corporate job growth. When asked what changes we can expect from the EEOC in the Trump administration, Lipnic said that most things will remain the same in the near term. “We are an enforcement agency, and the EEOC is committed to its core values and mission, to enforce civil rights laws in the workplace,” she said.
Lipnic did promise, however, to increase EEOC involvement in litigation issues, preferring to see and vote on the issues rather than delegating decisions to the general counsel.
Since 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, she intends to do “a number of things related to that” to bring focus to the act.
She indicated several specific areas of importance to her strategy for coming months:
- Lipnic is very interested in equal pay issues, and plans to make them a priority.
- She plans a re-evaluation of the costs and benefits of the EEO-1 report, a detailed compliance survey required of large employers.
- Instead of cases that involve nationwide, systemic class actions, Lipnic wants to be more strategic, including regional prosecution of cases.
- She promises to be cognizant of the Trump administration’s priority on job growth while keeping the EEOC commitment to enforce workplace discrimination laws.
For the time being, the pro-employee policies of the Obama administration appear likely to stand. Under this administration, however, the only certainty is uncertainty. As always, we are ready to help with all your employment law questions and concerns.