Janet Dhillon was sworn in today as the chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic.
She will serve as the 16th Chair of the EEOC. Dhillon was first nominated by President Donald J. Trump on June 29, 2017, and confirmed on May 8, 2019. Her term will end on July 1, 2022.
The EEOC may be mainly thought of as an enforcer against gender, racial and national origin bias in workplace hiring and firing, but it also takes actions that affect retirement plans and individuals who want to continue working into retirement.
A Gallup poll found 74% of employees plan to work past their retirement age, and the EEOC has cracked down not only on employers that show age bias in hiring, but also on retirement policies that discriminate against older workers and discriminatory early retirement incentive plans. In 2017, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the EEOC held a hearing to discuss what is working and what is not. As witnesses pointed out, some employees want to keep working either for engagement reasons or financial reasons, and some want to retire from their current jobs to pursue ‘encore’ careers. All witnesses noted that age discrimination in employment is still ongoing.
As chair, Dhillon will continue to ensure policies are enforced to enable older individuals to work as long as they want and to prevent age discriminatory retirement programs and policies.
Dhillon practiced law in the private sector for more than 25 years. Prior to joining the EEOC, Dhillon served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Burlington Stores, Inc. Previously, she served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of JC Penney Company, Inc., and before that, as senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of US Airways Group, Inc.
Dhillon began her legal career at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she practiced for 13 years. She is a graduate of Occidental College, magna cum laude, and the UCLA School of Law, where she ranked first in her class.Dhillon joins Commissioners Lipnic, who has served as Acting Chair since January 2017, and Charlotte Burrows. With her swearing-in, the Commission regains a quorum that it lost on January 3.