David Lopez

David Lopez

Of Counsel
Washington, District of Columbia
(202) 847-4400

DAVID LOPEZ is Of Counsel at Outten & Golden, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, after resigning as a Partner in July 2018 to become the Dean of Rutgers Law School - Newark. Mr. Lopez served as General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from April 8, 2010 until December 9, 2016 – the longest serving General Counsel of the agency.  Mr. Lopez was nominated twice by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2010 and 2014.  Mr. Lopez is the first EEOC field trial attorney to be appointed as the agency's General Counsel.  As General Counsel, Mr. Lopez was in charge of the Commission's litigation program, overseeing the agency's 15 Regional Attorneys and a staff of more than 325 lawyers and legal professionals who conduct or support Commission litigation in district and appellate courts across the country.  He has served at the Commission in various capacities for the past 22 years, including as Supervisory Trial Attorney in the Phoenix District Office and Special Assistant to then-Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas. Mr. Lopez has been a Lecturer-in-Law at Harvard Law School and an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown Law Center.

Under his leadership, the EEOC's trial program was  extremely successful. Among the notable victories is the $240 million jury verdict - the Commission's largest award ever - in Henry's Turkey Service, a case brought on behalf of over thirty intellectually disabled men; a $17 million jury verdict for farmworker women victims of sexual harassment and retaliation in Moreno Farms, Inc.; and a $1.5 million sexual harassment and retaliation verdict affirmed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Breed Logistics.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the Commission in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., holding that an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant if the employer was motivated by avoiding the need to accommodate a religious practice. In this case, Samantha Elauf was denied hire because she wore a headscarf or hijab and thus failed to conform to the companies "look policy."

Other significant appellate victories, during his tenure, include EEOC v.  Geo Group, Inc. (class sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit reinstated after finding EEOC met its pre-suit requirements); EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc. (nationwide sex discrimination case reinstated after appeals court held that sole question for judicial review is whether EEOC conducted an investigation not sufficient of investigation); Baltimore County (making older workers contribute more to pensions violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act); EEOC v. Boh Brothers (plaintiffs can prove same-sex harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with "gender stereotyping" evidence); EEOC v. Houston Funding ("lactation" discrimination violates Title VII as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act);  and Serrano & EEOC v. Cintas (Commission can bring "pattern or practice" suit under section 706 of Title VII).

Mr. Lopez has also served as Co-Chair of the committee that developed the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013 to 2016,  the Chair of the Commission's Immigrant Worker Team, a group tasked with strengthening and coordinating EEOC's enforcement and outreach on employment discrimination issues affecting immigrant and other vulnerable workers, and convened a work group focused on discrimination issues affecting the LGBT community. Notable cases involving immigrant and vulnerable workers include Vail Run Resort (over $1 million for Latina workers subjected to egregious sexual harassment and retaliation); Mesa Systems, Inc. ($450,000 for Hispanic workers subjected to derogatory slurs and discriminatory application of Speak-English Only policy); and ABM Industries, Inc. ($5.8 million settlement for Latina janitorial workers subjected to rape, unwelcome groping and explicit sexual comments).  Through his leadership on LGBT issues, EEOC filed and settled its first cases alleging sex discrimination on the basis of transgender and sexual orientation, and participate frequently as amicus curiae on these issues.

Mr. Lopez has been recognized by various organizations for his extensive civil rights work. In 2016, Mr. Lopez received the National Religious Freedom Award from the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), Liberty Magazine, and North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA) for his advocacy of civil, religious, and employment rights throughout his government career. In 2014, the National Law Journal named Mr. Lopez one of "America's 50 Outstanding General Counsels," and the magazine, Diversity and the Bar, recognized Mr. Lopez as a "Latino Luminary" for his work as a civil rights attorney and as General Counsel. In 2012, he was awarded the Friend in Government Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination. In 2011, Hispanic Business named Mr. Lopez to its list of 100 Influentials in the Hispanic community. Mr. Lopez has been selected to Best Lawyers for 2018.

Prior to joining the EEOC, Mr. Lopez was a Senior Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC.  During his tenure as a Supervisory/Senior Trial Attorney, Mr, Lopez oversaw the litigation of a team of trial attorneys and successfully prosecuted several systemic and individual cases obtaining as first chair significant jury verdicts against Alamo Rent-a-Car (CV 02-1908-PHX-ROS, the first post-9/11 backlash religious accommodation case brought by the EEOC), Go Daddy (CV 04-2062-PHX-DGC, a national origin, religion, and retaliation case), and AutoZone (CV 06-926-PHX-SMM, a sexual harassment case), to name a few.   Between 1988 and 1991, Mr. Lopez was an Associate with Spiegel and McDiarmid in Washington, DC.

Mr. Lopez obtained his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University in 1985, with a B.S. in Political Science.

Areas of Practice

  • Employment Law

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, 1991
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit


  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • J.D. - 1988
  • Arizona State University
    • B.S. magna cum laude - 1985
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
    • Major: Political Science

Published Works

  • Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices: A Practical Manual, second edition with Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Hogan and Hartson, 1990
  • Employment Discrimination Law: A Model for Enforcing the Civil Rights of Trafficking Victims, chapter in Human Trafficking Reconsidered: Rethinking the Problems and Reinvisioning New Solutions, 2014
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Magna Carta of Human Rights, LexisNexis, 2015


  • Presenter: "Si Se Puede!: Civil Rights and the Latino Community", Conexion, Conexion Latina @ GSK
  • Speaker: "Was it Something I said, or Just Who I am: Hiring Discrimination Issues Under Title VII, The ADEA & ADA", National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Keynote Speaker: "Keynote Address", La Raza Lawyers Association, Central Valley Chapter
  • Speaker: "Title VII: A Magna Carta of Human Rights in the Age of Trump", Vanderbilt Law School, George Barrett Social Justice Program
  • Speaker: "Employment Law Post Trump- What Can We Expect", ABA Section of Labor & Employment, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Midwinter Meeting
  • Speaker: "Unresolved Issues Pending in Federal Court and the Trump Effect", Arizona Employment Lawyers Association
  • Keynote Speaker: "Equal Pay Act", Equal Pay Today, A Convening of Policy, Legal, and Grassroots Advocates Fighting for Equal Pay Today
  • Speaker: "The EEOC's Top Ten Litigation Developments", EEOC TAPS (Technical Assistance Program Seminar), Employment Law Excel Conference
  • Speaker: "Title VII: A Magna Carta of Human Rights and an American Conversation about Equal OpportunityHarvard Law School", Harvard Law School
  • Speaker: "EEOC Update", University of Louisville, 33rd Annual Carl A. Warns, Jr. and Edwin R. Render Labor and Employment Law Institute, The Brandeis Legacy and the Evolving American Workplace
  • Speaker: "Title VII: An American Conversation on Workplace Equality", Washington University, 2016-2017 Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers "Access to Justice"
  • Speaker: ""The State of Civil Rights" plenary", Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination 10th Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference
  • Speaker: "My Year in the Supreme Court: Young v. UPS Mach Mining v. EEOC and Abercrombie v. EEOC", Texas A & M, EEOC's Year at the Supreme Court
  • Keynote Speaker: "The EEOC’s Top Ten Litigation Developments", EEOC Training Seminar
  • Speaker: "Reining in Retalitaion & Winning Whistleblower Cases", NELA, 2016 NELA Spring Seminar Reining in Retaliation & Winning Whistleblower Cases
  • Speaker: "The EEOC’s Top Ten Litigation Developments", Ward and Smith, P.A., Employment Law Symposium
  • Speaker: "Overiew of Employment Law Casses Involving Diversity Issues", New Mexico State Bar, New Mexico State Bar Diversity Conference
  • Speaker: "EEOC GC, on Litigation and Enforcement (LEL 903)", ILR School Cornell University
  • Speaker: "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act After 50 Years: A Historical Journey", DRI Chicago: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act After 50 Years: A Historical Journey, DRI, The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • Speaker: "EEOC's Enforcement Priorities and Recent Cases", ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, 2015 ABA Mid-Winter Meeting Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee
  • Speaker: "The EEOC's Year At the Supreme Court", William and Mary Law School - Latino law Student and the Black Law Students Association
  • Speaker: "The EEOC’s Top Ten Litigation Developments", Indiana State Bar Association Employment, Labor & Benefits Law Section Distinguished Speaker Series
  • Speaker: "The EEOC's Year At the Supreme Court", University of West Virginia College of Law, College of Law with EEOC General Counsel Lopez
  • Interview: "Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. and Young v. United Parcel Service", Arkansas Law Notes: NPR Station KUAF, University of Arkansas School of Law Symposium
  • Speaker: "The EEOC's Year At the Supreme Court", University of Arkansas, 2015 Fall Semester Symposium at University of Arkansas School School of Law
  • Keynote Speaker: "The EEOC—A View From the General Counsel: The EEOC's Top Ten Litigation Developments", Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel
  • Speaker: "Blurring the Line: Workers in the New Tech Economy", San Jose Hi-Tech Listening Session, UC Hasting Panel on New Economy Workers
  • Speaker: "EEOC's Top Ten Litigation Developments", FordHarrison, Fifth Annual Complimentary Year-End Labor and Employment Law Workshop
  • Speaker: "Litigation Enforcement Trends", National Industry Liaison Group
  • Keynote Speaker: "EEOC's TopTen Litigation Developments", Southern California Pacific Region ILG Compliance Summit, Greater Los Angeles Industry Liaison Group; Southern California Pacific RegionIndustry Liaison Group
  • Speaker: "Top Ten Enforcement Priorities", Texas Bar Association, 24th Annual Course Advanced Employment Law

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers, 2018 - 2019
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
  • College of Labor and Employment Fellow
  • National Religious Freedom Award from the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), Liberty Magazine, and North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA)
  • National Law Journal "America's 50 Outstanding General Counsels"
  • "Latino Luminary" - Diversity and the Bar magazine
  • Friend in Government Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
  • 100 Influentials in the Hispanic Community

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Harvard Law School, Lecturer in Law
  • Georgetown Law Center, Adjunct Professor
  • ACLU-DC, Board Member
  • Impact Fund, Board Member
  • Toward Justice, Board Member
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow
  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Rutgers Law School, Co-Dean, 2018 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), General Counsel, April 8, 2010 - December 9, 2016
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Supervisory Trial Attorney/Senior Attorney, 1998 - 2010
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Attorney Advisor to Chair Gilber Casellas, 1994 - 1998


  • Spanish
  • English