Indian American civil rights attorney appointed Director of EEOC’s Chicago District

Amrith Kaur Aakre (second from left) poses during her swearing-in ceremony as the director of the EEOC’s Chicago District on Jan. 29, with Thomas Colclough, director of field management programs, and her parents Rajinder and Navinder Mago. Aakre took her oath on the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. (EEOC photo/Nanisa Pereles)

Amrith Kaur Aakre was appointed the new director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Chicago District, the federal agency announced January 30, 2024.

Aakre, who most recently served as the legal director for the Sikh Coalition, began her new role on Jan. 29..

“Ms. Aakre has a proven track record of creative problem solving, broad management experience, and a deep commitment to civil rights,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows is quoted saying in the press release. “I am pleased that she will be joining the EEOC’s Chicago District.”

Aakre said, “I have incredible respect for the EEOC and its mission to advance equal employment opportunities for all, and I’m grateful to be appointed Chicago District Director. I look forward to working together with the dedicated members of the Chicago District to create impactful change and combat unlawful employment discrimination across our region. I am also excited to learn from the various stakeholder groups, civil rights and other professional organizations, and members of employee and employer communities how the Chicago District offices can best serve their needs. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to continue engaging with civil rights work and am honored to lead the Chicago District moving forward.”

Amrith Kaur Aakre addressing her Chicago office staff after swearing in ceremony as Midwest Region Director EEOC. PHOTO: Courtesy Rajinder Mago

Immediately prior to joining the Commission, Aakre led a national civil rights practice focused on high impact, systemic litigation matters in areas such as workplace discrimination, hate crimes, school discrimination, racial profiling, and bias-based policy issues, the press release said.

Under her leadership, the Sikh Coalition drafted significant amicus briefs, including one cited by the Supreme Court in its most recent religious accommodation case, Groff v. DeJoy.

She also previously served as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago for more than 11 years, during which time she directed efforts to expand access to restorative justice and rehabilitative courts.

Aakre currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of Chicago, and the leadership committee for the American Bar Association’s Religious Liberty Section.

She is the 2022 recipient of SABA North America’s Public Interest Achievement Award, 2023 and 2021 recipient of SABA Chicago’s Public Interest Lawyer Award, and a 2017 recipient of the Asian American Coalition of Chicago’s Community Service award. She also has served as an Emerging Leaders Fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Aakre has dual bachelor’s degrees in applied science and technology engineering and English literature from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and her juris doctor from The University of Illinois at Chicago Law School.

The EEOC’s Chicago District is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with area offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.



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