WASHINGTON — Stuart J. Ishimaru, a member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since 2003, announced that he will resign his position as Commissioner this month. Mr. Ishimaru was nominated by President George W. Bush and is currently serving his second term that expires July 1, 2012.
Mr. Ishimaru worked to reinvigorate the agency's emphasis on race discrimination issues. He also was instrumental in the Commission's adoption of groundbreaking guidance and “best practices” to help employers avoid engaging in gender and disability discrimination against workers who have caregiving responsibilities. In addition, Mr. Ishimaru spearheaded the first public Commission meeting in years to focus on age discrimination, examining the effect of the recent recession and of adverse Supreme Court decisions on the rights of older workers to secure equal employment opportunity. He served as Acting Chair from January 20, 2009 until April 7, 2010.
During his tenure as Acting Chairman, Mr. Ishimaru worked to rebuild the EEOC, which had become under-funded and under-staffed. He dedicated substantial agency resources to a multi-million dollar training effort—the largest the agency had conducted in at least a decade—to equip EEOC employees with essential skills and knowledge they need to investigate and litigate large and complex discrimination (systemic) cases to bring about positive change in entire companies and industries.
Among other achievements, Mr. Ishimaru was the first Administration official to testify before Congress in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He also testified before the Senate in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act (an Act to reinvigorate and bolster the protections against gender-based wage discrimination provided by the Equal Pay Act of 1963).
EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien said: "I thank Commissioner Ishimaru for his outstanding service to this agency and to the nation. His accomplishments as a member of the Commission and Acting Chairman have been exceptional. He has been a tremendous colleague, and we will miss his fervent commitment to civil rights law enforcement and myriad contributions to the work of the Commission."
Mr. Ishimaru previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice between 1999 and 2001, where he served as a principal advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, advising on management, policy, and political issues involving the Civil Rights Division. He supervised the Division's attorneys in high-profile litigation, including employment discrimination cases, fair housing and fair lending cases, criminal police misconduct, hate crime and slavery prosecutions, and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. From 1994-1999, Mr. Ishimaru served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and provided advice on a broad range of issues.
In 1993, Mr. Ishimaru was appointed by President Clinton to be the Acting Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and from 1984-1993 he served on the professional staffs of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights and two House Armed Services Subcommittees of the U.S. Congress.
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.