Biden to fire Trump EEOC general counsel who refused to resign

Paige Smith

President Joe Biden will fire Sharon Gustafson, the Trump-appointed general counsel of the EEOC, at 5 p.m. Friday, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Biden administration demanded in a March 2 email that Gustafson, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s top litigator, resign, said two different sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.

Sharon Fast Gustafson speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

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Gustafson refused, citing her term, which runs through 2023, according to a copy of a letter Gustafson sent Friday to the Biden administration that was obtained by Bloomberg Law. She was then told by the White House on Friday that she would be fired as of 5 p.m., according to the source with direct knowledge.

The administration’s move comes after Biden fired National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb, who was also a Trump appointee, after he refused to step down on Jan. 20.

Gustafson was confirmed as the EEOC’s general counsel in August 2019. During her tenure, she prioritized combating religious discrimination in the workplace. Her legal stances prompted at least one EEOC attorney to voice concern that the agency’s approach in a religious bias lawsuit against Kroger Co. could impinge on the rights of LGBT workers.

Media representatives for the White House and the EEOC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.