Jocelyn Samuels, the executive director of UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, was nominated on March 16 to a seat on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces federal laws barring workplace discrimination.
Samuels was nominated by President Trump after being recommended for a Democratic vacancy on the five-member EEOC by Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate. Her nomination will be considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and, if the committee votes to approve her nomination, by the full Senate.
“I am deeply humbled to have been nominated to the EEOC, which does invaluable work to protect civil rights in the workplace,” Samuels says. “If the Senate confirms me, I will be honored to serve. I look forward to continuing the work to which I have devoted my career in government and at the Williams Institute, an extraordinary organization of which I am so proud and which has made such critical contributions.”
Samuels has led the Williams Institute since 2017, following a distinguished career in government service and civil rights law. She had most recently served as director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There, she oversaw the development of regulations implementing the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act which, for the first time, prohibited sex discrimination in federally funded health care. She also served as acting assistant attorney general for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Samuels previously served as a senior policy attorney with the EEOC, labor counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
The EEOC is currently chaired by UCLA Law alumna Janet Dhillon ’91.