Meeting of January 14, 2015 - Workplace Harassment
David Lopez was sworn in as General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on April 8, 2010. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the Senate on December 22, 2010. Mr. Lopez is the first EEOC field trial attorney to be appointed as the agency's General Counsel. He has served at the Commission in various capacities for the past 20 years, including as Supervisory Trial Attorney in the Phoenix District Office and Special Assistant to then-Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas.
As General Counsel, Mr. Lopez runs the Commission's litigation program, overseeing the agency's 15 Regional Attorneys and a staff of more than 325 lawyers and legal professionals who conduct or support Commission litigation in district and appellate courts across the country. During his tenure, Mr. Lopez has cultivated "one national law enforcement agency," encouraging the EEOC's litigators nationwide to operate more collaboratively and cohesively with each other and other internal partners.
During Mr. Lopez's tenure as General Counsel, the EEOC's trial program has been extremely successful; in fiscal year 2013 the EEOC won 9 out of 10 of its trials, including significant verdicts involving race discrimination. These verdicts also included a $240,000,000 jury verdict - the Commission's largest award ever - in Henry's Turkey Service, a case brought on behalf of over thirty intellectually disabled men. Significant appellate victories in EEOC enforcement actions include Mach Mining (EEOC's conciliation efforts not judicially reviewable); Ford Motor Co. (telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act); Boh Brothers (plaintiffs can prove same-sex harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with "gender stereotyping" evidence); Houston Funding ("lactation" discrimination violates Title VII as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act); United Airlines (employers may have to reassign disabled employees non-competitively as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA); Baltimore County (making older workers contribute more to pensions violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act); and Serrano & EEOC v. Cintas(Commission can bring "pattern or practice" suit under section 706 of Title VII).
As General Counsel, Mr. Lopez served as Co-Chair of the committee that developed the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013 to 2016. He is also the Chair of the Commission's Immigrant Worker Team. This group is tasked with strengthening and coordinating EEOC's enforcement and outreach on employment discrimination issues affecting immigrant and other vulnerable workers.
In 2014, the National Law Journal named Mr. Lopez as one of "America's 50 Outstanding General Counsel." In 2011, Hispanic Business named Mr. Lopez to its list of 100 Influentials in the Hispanic community.
Before becoming General Counsel, during his 12 years in the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, Mr. Lopez successfully tried several novel and noteworthy cases. He won significant jury verdicts against Alamo Rent-a-Car (the first "post-9/11 backlash" religious accommodation case brought by the EEOC), and Go Daddy (a national origin (Moroccan), religion (Muslim), and retaliation case), to name a couple.
From 1991 to 1994, Mr. Lopez was a Senior Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Between 1988 and 1991, Mr. Lopez was an Associate with Spiegel and McDiarmid in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Lopez graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University in 1985, with a B.S. in Political Science.