General Counsel of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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. He was confirmed a second time by the Senate on December 3, 2014. 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.
Under his leadership, the EEOC's trial program has been extremely successful. Since fiscal year 2013, the EEOC won 13 out of 17 jury trials, including significant verdicts involving race discrimination such as in the case against AC Widenhouse, where the 4th Circuit upheld a $243,000 jury verdict for the EEOC. Also, among the notable victories is the $240 million 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); 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).
The EEOC has litigated and settled several cases on behalf of farmworkers and Latino employees. These include ABM Industries, Inc. ($5.8 million settlement for Hispanic janitorial workers subjected to rape, unwelcome groping and explicit sexual comments); Global Horizons, et. al. including Del Monte Fresh Produce ($3.6 million for Thai farmworkers subjected to deplorable working conditions, harassment, and retaliation); National Food Corp. ($650,000 for farmworkers subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation); Spud Seller, Inc. ($255,000 for farmworker women subjected to sexual harassment); and Mesa Systems, Inc. ($450,000 for Hispanic workers subjected to derogatory slurs and discriminatory application of Speak-English Only policy).
Mr. Lopez has also served as Co-Chair of the committee that developed the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013 to 2016. He is the Chair of the Commission's Immigrant Worker Team, a group 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 Journalnamed Mr. Lopez one of "America's 50 Outstanding General Counsels," and the magazine, Diversity and the Bar recognized Mr. Lopez as a "Latino Luminary" for his work as a civil rights attorney and as 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 (Islam), and retaliation case), to name a few.
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.