Burlington GC Janet Dhillon, Trump's Pick for EEOC, Discloses Ethics Pledge, Salary

Burlington Stores Inc. general counsel Janet Dhillon will leave behind her in-house role and a $1.5 million salary, if she’s confirmed for an open seat on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The veteran corporate in-house lawyer led legal departments at US Airways and JCPenney Company Inc. before taking her role at Burlington in 2015. If confirmed to the EEOC, she would serve a five-year term as chair, expiring in 2022. Dhillon will be considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. No hearing date is set.

In her ethics agreement, released Thursday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, she said upon confirmation she will resign her position at New Jersey-based Burlington Stores and will forfeit all stock options and restricted stock that are unvested. The salary for EEOC chair is $172,100.

Dhillon also said she will not participate in any matter that has direct effect on her financial interests at Burlington. She also indicated she will resign from her position at the University of California, Los Angeles Law Women LEAD. She will not participate for one year in matters pertaining to these groups unless she receives authorization to participate. 

She said she will forfeit all unvested stock in Burlington but continue to participate in the profit-sharing program. Dhillon disclosed her vested stock with JCPenney is underwater because the stock price is below the grant price. As general counsel to JCPenney, Dhillon reported her income, in 2011, as $1.8 million.

As part of the ethics process, Dhillon disclosed her financial history, savings and salary information in a disclosure released Thursday. She has held past positions with Dallas CASA, the Retail Litigation Center, the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee and UCLA Law Women LEAD.

Federal campaign records show Dhillon has contributed to Republican candidates for elected office, including John McCain, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. She was not immediately reached for comment Thursday.

The EEOC is poised for change with a shakeup under the Trump administration, not just for leadership but the agency will also face steep budget cuts. The five-member commission will is expected to be more business-friendly and move away from systemic investigations that were pushed in recent years. Trump has not yet nominated a replacement for the general counsel position, vacated by David Lopez last year.

"At least for a few years, the agency's been detached from the workplace and the issues employers face. To have someone who's been in the trenches … the choice can be viewed favorably for that reason," Howard Wexler, a Seyfarth Shaw associate in New York, told National Law Journal affiliate Corporate Counsel after Dhillon’s nomination.

Contributing Author

Erin Mulvaney

Erin Mulvaney writes for Law.com, sister site to BenefitsPRO.com.

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