Law Firms

Jones Day partner who defended companies in bias suits is tapped to be civil rights chief at Justice

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A Jones Day partner who has represented companies in discrimination lawsuits has been nominated to be chief of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Nominee Eric Dreiband, is among several Jones Day partners who have been picked to join the Trump administration, the National Law Journal reports. Others include White House counsel Don McGahn and solicitor general nominee Noel Francisco.

Dreiband successfully defended R.J. Reynolds before a federal appeals court in an age bias suit by an unsuccessful job applicant. But he lost a Supreme Court case when he defended Abercrombie & Fitch in a suit filed by a Muslim woman who was turned down for a job because her head scarf didn’t comport with the company’s dress policy.

Dreiband served in the George W. Bush administration as general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as deputy administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division.

Activists criticized Dreiband’s nomination, report the Associated Press and Politico. Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Dreiband was “woefully unqualified” for the job.

Gupta said the Justice Department’s civil rights chief should have “deep relationships with stakeholders and marginalized communities, and have a deep, abiding faith in our nation’s civil rights laws.” Gupta had led the civil rights division in the Obama administration.

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