Kalpana Kotagal, an Indian American diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility expert, has been sworn in as Commissioner of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Nominated by President Joe Biden on April 1, 2022, she was confirmed on July 14, 2023, to serve as Commissioner, for a term expiring July 1, 2027. She was sworn in by EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows on Aug 9.
Kotagal joins Burrows, Vice Chair Jocelyn Samuels, and Commissioners Keith E. Sonderling and Andrea R. Lucas on the presidentially appointed, bipartisan Commission. Kotagal’s swearing in restores the Commission to its full complement, according to an EEOC release.
“We are excited to welcome Kalpana Kotagal to the Commission,” Burrows said. “She has dedicated her career to advancing civil rights both in the courtroom and by working collaboratively with employers. Her creative approaches to ensuring equal opportunity, her legal expertise, and her commitment to workers will greatly benefit the Commission.”
Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Kotagal was a partner at Cohen Milstein, a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group, and chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee.
Kotagal is a highly-acclaimed litigator who has represented women and other marginalized people in employment and civil rights litigation involving issues related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as wage and hour issues and the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s an honor to start a new chapter as an EEOC Commissioner and an incredible opportunity to apply the experience from my previous work,” Kotagal said.
“I look forward to working toward solutions for the issues facing today’s workforce alongside my colleagues on the Commission and in the agency.”
Prior to her work at Cohen Milstein, Kotagal served as a law clerk to Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
She attended Stanford University, where she was a Morris K. Udall Scholar and graduated with honors. She earned her JD, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was a James Wilson Fellow.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.