Task Force Celebrates Confirmation of Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary

portrait_perezThe Task Force congratulates Thomas Perez in his confirmation as secretary of labor by the U.S. Senate. He replaces Hilda Solis, who stepped down in January after four years of running the Labor Department.

“Thomas Perez will be an excellent labor secretary,” said Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey. “He has a proven track record of support for workers and those who have faced discrimination. He is a champion of civil rights.”

Perez represented the administration and testified before the U.S. Senate in 2009 in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, he challenged state voter suppression efforts and pursued a record number of discrimination or brutality claims against local law enforcement agencies, including the Trayvon Martin racial profiling case.

The Labor Department is critical to advancing, enforcing and preserving policies that directly impact the lives and livelihoods of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families. It has made significant policy advances over the past few years in this regard. These advances include adding gender identity as a protected category to the department’s equal employment statement, and clarifying that the Family and Medical Leave Act is inclusive of same-sex couples raising children.

“Thomas Perez at the helm of the Labor Department will help keep this momentum for civil rights moving forward,” said Carey.