Ahead of the PLUS EPL Symposium in New York on March 4th, tune into this chat with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Vice Chair, Jocelyn Samuels and Founding Partner of Gordon & Rees’s New York office, Mercedes Colwin to hear about the Vice Chair’s role and recent initiatives and Vice Chair Samuels view on what steps employers can take to create a more inclusive and fair work environment. This chat will explore the critical challenges and emerging issues related to the workplace and how the EEOC is addressing these concerns. In addition, Vice Chair Samuels will discuss the EEOC’s current strategic priorities, particular industries or sectors that are areas of focus, how the EEOC is adapting to non-traditional work arrangements, and concerns around artificial intelligence and discrimination laws.

Fireside Chat with EEOC Vice Chair Samuels from PLUS on Vimeo.



Headshot of Jocelyn SamuelsJocelyn Samuels was designated by President Biden as Vice Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on January 20, 2021. She joined the EEOC as a Commissioner on October 14, 2020, and on July 14, 2021, was confirmed for a second term ending in 2026. Immediately prior to joining the Commission, she served as the Executive Director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute, focusing on legal strategies to attain equality for sexual and gender minorities. During the Obama administration, she served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. In these capacities, she supervised enforcement of civil rights laws through litigation, rulemaking and policy development, and public education and was an architect of numerous government policies applying federal law to remedy discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She previously served as a Vice President of the National Women’s Law Center, Labor Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a senior attorney at the EEOC in the Office of Legal Counsel.  She received a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. from Middlebury College.


Headshot of Mercedes ColwinMercedes Colwin, a highly successful trial attorney, is the founding partner of grsm’s New York City Office. She handles a wide variety of litigation, including employment law, commercial litigation, class actions, products liability, professional liability, wage and hour class actions, defamation and related First Amendment claims, civil rights violations and criminal law. Mercedes has defended thousands of cases throughout the country to a favorable result and won over ninety percent of her numerous trials and arbitrations. She regularly litigates business disputes and defends corporations and executives of Fortune 500 companies accused of wrongdoing, including claims of sexual misconduct. Mercedes has received several significant honors. Forbes Business American Airlines named Mercedes one of the six most influential women in America.  The list includes dignitaries such as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Notre Dame Law School presented Mercedes with the prestigious Graciela Olivarez Award for outstanding achievement as a leading Hispanic lawyer of the highest ethical and moral standards. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the same award.  MultiCultural Law magazine also profiled Mercedes in a Leadership Interview titled, Reaching Back to Diversify the Legal Professional. Human Resources Magazine named Mercedes as one of the Nation’s Most Powerful Rising Employment Attorneys. Widely regarded as a top national legal analyst, she regularly appears on television to discuss critical legal issues affecting the nation.



There is still time to register for the PLUS EPL Symposium where you can learn from industry experts and attend cutting-edge CE/CLE educational sessions as you immerse yourself in all things EPL. Learn more and register below.


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