President Donald Trump nominated a woman who has been general counsel for three major U.S. corporations as the next chair of the EEOC.

Janet Dhillon, executive vice president and general counsel of Burlington Stores Inc., would begin a five-year term on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and be designated as chair upon confirmation by the Senate, the White House said. Trump sent Dhillon’s nomination to the Senate on June 29, a day after announcing his intent to do so.

Dhillon’s nomination was called a surprise by employer-side attorneys who closely watch developments at the EEOC. But she has an administration...