The Trump Administration announced the appointment of EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic to serve as acting head of the Agency. Lipnic, a Republican, has served as a Commissioner since 2010 when she was appointed by President Obama. Lipnic will replace outgoing Commissioner Jenny Yang as Chair.
During her tenure, Lipnic has gained a reputation for working well with both Republican and Democrat Commissioners, including serving as co-chair with Commissioner Chai Feldblum of the EEOC’s Select Taskforce on Harassment in the Workplace. Lipnic also voted against several of the EEOC’s high-profile Guidance opinions. For example, she voted against an opinion expressing the Agency’s view that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes sexual orientation as a “protected class.” More recently, she also voted against the new EEO-1 reporting standards that will require employers (starting in 2018) to provide the Agency with compensation data.
Lipnic’s appointment as Chair will not immediately alter the current balance of power at the EEOC, which will remain majority Democrat until at least 2018 when Commissioner Feldblum’s term expires. For now, employers should expect the EEOC to stay the course on its current Strategic Enforcement Plan and recent policy Guidance.