Commissioner Kalpana Kotagal
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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Kalpana Kotagal was designated by President Biden as a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on July 14, 2023. She joined the EEOC as a Commissioner on August 9, 2023, for a term expiring in July 2027.

Immediately prior to joining the Commission, Kotagal was a partner at Cohen Milstein, where she specialized in civil rights and employment law and chaired the firm’s Hiring & Diversity Committee. As a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group, she represented women and other marginalized people in employment and civil rights class actions, often involving cutting-edge issues related to Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as wage and hour issues and the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.       

During this time, Kotagal co-authored the "Inclusion Rider"—a voluntary agreement between actors, filmmakers and studios aimed at advancing equal opportunity in the film industry both behind the camera and in front of it. The contract provision gained recognition when actor Francis McDormand endorsed it in her acceptance speech during the 2018 Academy Awards. In the years since then, Kotagal collaborated with studios, production companies, and actors to advance implementation of the Inclusion Rider in film, television, music and fashion.

Commissioner Kotagal has dedicated her career to supporting workers and championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. A Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow and Vanderbilt Law School Barrett Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, she frequently mentored law students and new lawyers about public interest law. Prior to serving as a Commissioner, Kotagal volunteered her time and expertise on the Board of Directors of A Better Balance and Public Justice Foundation; co-chaired the Alumni Advisory Board on Equity & Inclusion at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; was a member of the American Constitution Society Task Force on #MeToo in the Legal Profession; and served on the Advisory Board of the People’s Parity Project.

Before joining Cohen Milstein in 2006, Kotagal served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Commissioner Kotagal attended Stanford University, where she was a Morris K. Udall Scholar and graduated with honors. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was a James Wilson Fellow.

A daughter of immigrants from India, Kotagal is the first female Commissioner of Indian descent.