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Ida L. Castro

Photo of Chairwoman Castro

Eleventh Chair of the EEOC, October 23, 1998 - August 13, 2001

Ida L. Castro was sworn in as the Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on October 23, 1998, and is the first Latina to serve in this capacity. Ms. Castro was nominated by President Clinton on April 22 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21, 1998.

As Chairwoman, Ms. Castro has implemented an innovative agenda to increase the fairness, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of all aspects of agency operations. In order to ensure that the EEOC is the nation's premier civil rights enforcement agency, Ms. Castro has focused on expanding outreach, education, and technical assistance to a broad range of stakeholders, seeking to prevent discrimination in the first instance, while pursuing fair and vigorous enforcement against "bad actors." She has placed a special emphasis on reaching out to small businesses and under-served communities to promote the understanding of and voluntary compliance with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

Under Ms. Castro's leadership, the Commission has been on the cutting edge of enforcing the nation's anti-discrimination laws through an innovative comprehensive enforcement approach. Through this new vision and work strategy, the EEOC has won the respect and praise of many who have been critical of the agency in the past. Among the EEOC's many accomplishments during 1999, Ms. Castro's first year as Chairwoman, were cutting the backlog of private sector charges by 23% to a 15-year low, reducing the average charge processing time, implementing a successful national mediation program, reforming the federal sector EEO complaint process, and issuing several comprehensive guidance documents on key legal and employment issues.

Prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Castro served as the Acting Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from 1996 to 1998. She also served at Department of Labor as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs from 1994 to 1996. Her leadership and management skills - with an emphasis on results, responsiveness to the public, and cutting-edge methods to enhance operational efficiency - earned three coveted Hammer Awards from the Office of the Vice President.

Prior to her service for the Administration, Ms. Castro worked as a labor and employment lawyer as well as a professor. She was the first Hispanic woman to earn tenure as an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, Institute for Management and Labor Relations. During her extensive career as an attorney, she held the following positions: Senior Legal Counsel for Legal Affairs, Health and Hospital Corporation of New York City, the nation's largest municipal health care system; Special Counsel to the President and Director of Labor Relations, Hostos Community College, City University of New York; Associate counsel, Eisner, Levy, Pollack and Ratner; and Associate Counsel, Giblin and Giblin.

Ms. Castro has also held leadership positions in a number of Hispanic organizations. She founded the first Hispanic women's group in New Jersey and was the first Hispanic appointed by that state's governor to the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women. Among the numerous awards she has received for her advocacy on behalf of minorities and women is the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Puerto Rican Legal and Education Fund.

She received a B.A. degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and M.A. and J.D. degrees from Rutgers University of New Jersey.

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