Opinion

Confirm Eric Dreiband as Assistant AG for Civil Rights

By David Grinberg
September 6, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Eric S. Dreiband to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice.

I had the privilege of working directly with Dreiband at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when he served as general counsel and I was a long-time media spokesman (career civil servant).

Thus, I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Eric to this critically important civil rights post. My support as a private citizen is based on his admirable character, moral integrity and impressive record of achievement in the fight to eradicate discrimination from all aspects of society and foster equal opportunity for all Americans.

Put simply, Eric is an unwavering champion of civil rights, especially for women and minorities. His record at the EEOC proves this beyond a doubt. Moreover, Eric always puts the rule of law above Washington’s repugnant rule of putting partisan politics above the interests of the American people. It is exactly this kind of moral leadership and steady hand that is needed at the top of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to heal racial wounds and unite America.

Those who know Eric are already well aware of his distinguished record of public service at the EEOC and the Department of Labor. He also has significant private sector experience as one the nation’s top labor and employment lawyers. It is this rare combination of public and private sector legal experience at the highest levels that provides Eric with unique insights on the intricacies of civil rights law from all sides.

In fact, Eric’s strong record of litigation accomplishments at the EEOC is virtually unmatched since the agency opened its doors for business in July 1965 – one year after Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act 1964, Title VII of which created the EEOC. However, Eric’s detractors appear to be living in a parallel universe by intentionally ignoring his remarkable record at EEOC and instead waging a personal smear campaign against him. Shame on them!

Eric’s results as EEOC general counsel include successfully managing a national litigation docket of about 500 cases and leading approximately 300 career attorneys in the fight to eradicate employment discrimination in the private sector.

Under his leadership, the EEOC filed more lawsuits, resolved more lawsuits and recovered more money for victims of discrimination than at any other comparable period in modern times, according to litigation data over the past two decades which is available on EEOC’s website.

It’s often been said that “facts are stubborn things.” Therefore, let’s consider the facts about Eric’s tenure as EEOC general counsel from fiscal years 2004 through 2005. During this time leading the EEOC:

  • Filed an annual average of 418 total employment discrimination lawsuits against private employers, including some of the biggest names in corporate America. In comparison, the EEOC during the Obama administration filed an average of only 205 suits per year, which dropped to a low of 114 total suits in fiscal year 2016.
  • Resolved an annual average of 379 private sector lawsuits, compared to 246 during the Obama years. This included separate major class settlements of $50 million or more against Wall Street brokerage Morgan Stanley, retail clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as Bell Atlantic (NYNEX), on behalf of thousands of working women and minorities nationwide.
  • Obtained an annual average of $137 million for victims of employment discrimination, more than double that of the Obama presidency — which recovered an average of $60 million per year for aggrieved workers through EEOC litigation.

Additionally, the injunctive relief obtained by EEOC under Eric’s leadership through litigation settlements — via consent decrees filed with the courts — has helped to enhance the work culture in countless industries not only for current employees, but also for future generations.

That’s because in addition to monetary benefits for victims, the consent decrees require employers to implement internal best practices, policies and procedures to promote model work environments free of discrimination and harassment. These major litigation settlements also serve as a strong deterrent by sending a message to any bad actors in the business community, from the C-suite to the factory floor. That message of deterrence under Eric’s leadership reverberated industry-wide from Wall Street to Main Street USA and helped to further promote voluntary compliance with EEOC-enforced laws to prevent discrimination.

Yet despite his unequivocal accomplishments for victims of employment discrimination, some of Eric’s detractors — chiefly the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and its cohorts — have sunk to new lows by waging a malicious smear campaign to malign Eric’s good name, character and enviable record of results.

And while political mudslinging is nothing new in the nation’s capital, the vicious personal attacks against Eric only serve to further blur the lines between fact and fiction, giving new meaning to the term “fake news,” which so many Americans view as despicable and deplorable.

The insidious propaganda campaign to discredit Eric, by the likes of the Leadership Conference and People for the American Way, has been punctuated by lies, distortions and half-truths. These personal attacks are unbecoming of any respected civil rights group or other organizations. Such venomous vitriol is anathema to constructive public discourse, civility and transparency.

In essence, it should be clear to any Washington-based special interest group — from the civil rights community to all communities — that the American people are fed up with petty partisanship and “politics as usual.”

That’s exactly why Eric Dreiband will be a breath of fresh air at the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division by serving the American people with distinction. And that’s exactly why I strongly support his swift confirmation by the Senate.


David B. Grinberg is a strategic communications consultant, featured blogger and global brand ambassador for award-winning startup beBee Affinity Social Network.

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