NAACP Statement on Janet Dhillon Nomination as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

September 22, 2017

The NAACP opposes the confirmation of Janet Dhillon as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  As demonstrated through her experiences and substantiated on Tuesday in the confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (Senate HELP Committee), Janet Dhillon’s interests lie in protecting the interests of businesses, not in protecting or advancing workers’ rights.  Thus, she is not qualified to lead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is charged with protecting and promoting workers from individual and systemic employment discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, age, disability, or religion.  Given the importance of the EEOC and its effective enforcement of the law to the fundamental mission of the NAACP, which is to fight racism and bias wherever it may occur and to struggle for the economic empowerment of all people, our opposition is necessary.

A thorough review of Ms. Dhillon’s record, which we urged the Senate HELP Committee to undertake prior to her hearing on September 19, 2017, demonstrates that her priorities lay solely with employers, not with the workers.  Of significant concern is the fact that during her tenure at the Retail Litigation Center, which is an arm of the Retail Industry Leader Association dedicated to “advocating the retail industry’s perspective in judicial proceedings,” she authored and co-authored amicus briefs to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in support of employers in cases including Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, Vance v. Ball State University, and Mach Mining V. EEOC.

The NAACP is extremely concerned that Ms. Dhillon has spent her entire career advocating for the retail industry in legal proceedings; she has no experience representing employees, she has never led a government agency and she has never even worked in the public sector.  With over 2500 employees, the EEOC has 53 offices in every part of nation; between 2010 and 2016, the EEOC received 6662,000 charges of discrimination.  More than half of these complaints were based on race or national origin.

We have raised concerns regarding this nomination from the beginning.  Specifically, we urged the Senate HELP Committee to look at her record and to determine if she was an appropriate nominee to head a Commission.  The work of the EEOC, which recently proposed an amended form to help companies find and remedy wage discrimination within their midst, and would also better equip the EEOC to combat pay discrimination, is incredibly important.  A recent report by the San Francisco Federal Reserve found the wage gap between African Americans and their white counterparts had actually grown over the past 37 years.

Following our observations of Tuesday’s hearing, along with a careful review of her professional record and her qualifications, or lack thereof, the NAACP has determined that Ms. Dhillon would be bad for workers, bad for the cause of equal employment, and bad for anti-discrimination efforts and as such, bad for our country.

Thus, the NAACP is opposed to her confirmation as chair of the EEOC and urges all Senators to vote against confirmation.