Indian American sworn in as Commissioner at EEOC

Kalpana Kotagal (center) takes the oath of office as EEOC Commissioner, sworn in by EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows Aug. 9, 2023. for a term expiring July 1, 2027. PHOTO: EEOC

Kalpana Kotagal, a civil rights attorney, was sworn in August 9, 2023, as Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Nominated by President Biden on April 1 last year, Kotagal was confirmed on July 14, 2023, to serve as Commissioner, for a term expiring July 1, 2027.

She joins EEOC Chair Charlotte A. 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.

“We are excited to welcome Kalpana Kotagal to the Commission,” Burrows is quoted saying in the press release “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.

She is considered 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 the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

A graduate of Stanford University, Kotagal was a Morris K. Udall Scholar and graduated with honors. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was a James Wilson Fellow.



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