President Donald Trump March 19 nominated solo practitioner and former Jones Day lawyer Sharon Fast Gustafson as general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Gustafson would fill the agency’s top litigator post, which has has been vacant since December 2016. The general counsel role comes with broad discretion in pursuing cases to enforce federal workplace discrimination laws. If confirmed for a four-year term by the Senate, Gustafson would join the agency as it is considering its approach to issues such as pay discrimination and sexual harassment on the job.
Gustafson was part of a legal team that convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to expand discrimination protections for pregnant workers in 2015. She represented UPS driver Peggy Young, who sued the company for forcing Young to take a leave of absence when doctors advised her not to lift heavy objects during her pregnancy.
The EEOC is currently awaiting Senate confirmation of two Republican nominees for the five-member panel. Janet Dhillon (R) and Daniel Gade (R) are expected to eventually be confirmed for open seats. Trump has also asked the Senate to reconfirm Chai Feldblum (D) for a third term.
Gustafson has been in solo practice since 1996, representing both employees and employers, the White House said in a statement.