- President Donald Trump announced four nominations for open positions at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) March 2.
- He said he will nominate Jocelyn Samuels, executive director at a University of California, Los Angeles School of Law institute, and Andrea R. Lucas, an associate at law firm Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher LLP to the EEOC.
- For NLRB, Trump said he will nominate current board member Marvin Kaplan and former member Lauren McGarity McFerran.
The Samuels nomination could prove particularly interesting for stakeholders. Among other credentials, she previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights arm and, according to her UCLA bio, “managed efforts to extend Title VII and Title IX protections against sex discrimination to LGBT people” during her time there.
EEOC has taken this same position with respect to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but not without pushback from the administration. In fact, the agency argued against the administration in an ongoing suit before the U.S. Supreme Court on this very question.
It’s also notable that EEOC’s last high-profile LGBT advocate, Chai Feldblum, withdrew from consideration for another term after a heated confirmation process. In an open letter to Trump, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, called Feldblum’s views "fundamentally incompatible with our Nation's long tradition of pluralism and religious freedom." It remains to be seen whether Samuels will face an uphill battle in the Senate, but nominees often are confirmed in groups so her confirmation could find success in a package deal.
For employers, such a nominee — or a mandate to refrain from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — may not change much in the day-to-day. Employment experts have long recommended that employers not take adverse employment actions based on such characteristics, because EEOC already enforces that position and because the line between "sexual orientation" and "sex stereotyping," a well-settled path to sex discrimination, is a fine one.