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Press Release 01-23-2009


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that President Barack Obama has appointed Stuart J. Ishimaru as Acting Chairman of the EEOC and Christine M. Griffin as Acting Vice Chair.

Ishimaru, whose term expires on July 1, 2012, has been a Commissioner since November 2003. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a second term at the EEOC in December 2007.  During his tenure, Ishimaru has primarily focused on large, systemic cases and in reinvigorating the agency’s work on race discrimination issues.  He also played an instrumental role in the EEOC’s adoption of groundbreaking guidance on gender discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities.

“It is a high honor and quite humbling to lead the EEOC during these challenging times,” Ishimaru said.  “The Obama Administration brings new promise and possibilities to the EEOC.  To succeed in our mission, we need to rethink the fundamental question of how well the Commission works to ensure equal employment opportunities for all individuals.”

Prior to joining the EEOC, Ishimaru served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice between 1999 and 2001. Before that, he served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division for five years.  In 1993, Ishimaru was appointed by President Clinton to be the Acting Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and from 1984-1993 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. A native of San Jose, Calif., Ishimaru received his A.B. in Political Science and in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from the George Washington University.

Christine M. Griffin was sworn in as an EEOC Commissioner on Jan. 3, 2006, to serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring July 1, 2009.  Since joining the Commission, Ms. Griffin has been vocal in her support of increasing diversity in the federal workforce, as well as promoting greater efficiency and fairness in the federal EEO process.  She has also been a strong advocate for women’s rights and the rights of individuals with disabilities.  “It is an honor to be asked by President Obama to be a part of the leadership here at the EEOC.  I am excited to be working with Acting Chairman Ishimaru to advance the civil rights of all workers in this country.”

Prior to joining the EEOC, Griffin served as the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston from 1996 to 2005.  Before that she served from 1995 to 1996 as an Attorney Advisor to the former Vice Chair of the EEOC, advising him on legal matters and policy issues. Griffin is also a Vietnam-Era Veteran, serving on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1974-1977.  A native of Boston, Griffin is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Boston College Law School.

Ishimaru succeeds Naomi C. Earp, whose term as a Commissioner expires on July 1, 2010. In addition to Acting Chairman Ishimaru and Acting Vice Chair Griffin, the other sitting Commissioners are Earp and Constance S. Barker.  The fifth Commissioner seat is vacant.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC, including Commissioner bios, is available on the agency’s web site at