What’s going on:
The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee, Kolpana Kotagal, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), by a narrow vote of 49-47, according to Reuters. The confirmation gives Democrats a majority on the five-member panel, breaking the previous standstill of two Democratic and two Republican appointees.
Why it matters:
The agency is responsible for enforcing workplace bias laws. The confirmation allows the EEOC to further pursue pro-worker policies backed by the Biden administration. Reuters reports that the EEOC is expected to propose a rule that would make it easier to hold companies accountable for discrimination claims brought by contract and franchise workers, not just their employees.
How it’ll impact the future:
Kotagal’s past work includes developing the concept of an “inclusion rider,” which requires Hollywood studios to hire diverse casts and crews, according to Reuters. She also has previous experience advising companies on creating diversity and inclusion policies, and she represented workers in high-profile sex bias class-actions. These experiences suggest that she will use her position to advance similar anti-discrimination laws and promote equity in the workplace.
With Kotagal’s confirmation, the EEOC is positioned to confront sexual harassment, LGBTQ discrimination, advance pay equity and pregnancy accommodations in the workforce. This influence could encourage companies to review and improve their own policies to ensure they are in line with new standards.