The State Worker

Former fair employment director joins Southern California law firm

Phyllis Cheng, former California Department of Fair Employment and Housing director
Phyllis Cheng, former California Department of Fair Employment and Housing director Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Just three days after Phyllis Cheng stepped down from her post as California’s top anti-discrimination official, global law firm DLA Piper announced this week that she has joined its Los Angeles office as a partner.

“(S)he will combine her experience in employment matters and public policy to help regional, national and international clients navigate California’s complex employment laws and regulations,” according to a company press release.

Cheng left the Department of Fair Employment and Housing last Friday amid scrutiny of the agency’s own promotion and hiring practices. Two state reports have castigated managers for promoting an unqualified employee and then making inconsistent statements to an investigator looking into it. Cheng was not named in either investigation.

The scandal also prompted a wider state investigation into Fair Employment’s promotion and hiring practices for the last five years. The State Personnel Board has not yet released its findings.

Maria Rodriguez, who heads DLA Piper’s Los Angeles Employment group, said that Cheng is “a seasoned practitioner” whose “impressive accomplishments in government and private practice will be an asset to the firm and our clients domestically and around the world.”

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.

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