In First Public Comments About Case, EEOC Commissioner Calls Allegations of Anti-Semitism at Stanford “Deeply Troubling” Washington, D.C., January 12, 2020: During a panel on rising anti-Semitism and ways to address it in the workplace, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Andrea Lucas, for the very first time, commented on the Brandeis Center’s complaint of anti-Semitism at Stanford University, calling the allegations, “deeply troubling.” Lucas specifically highlighted serious concerns about the “segregation of Jewish employees in white affirming and white passing affinity groups, separated out from other individuals of color” that allegedly took place in one of Stanford University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs as well as DEI leaders “dismissing allegations of Zoom bombings with swastikas out of concern that it would draw attention away from anti-Black anti-racism concerns.”
The Brandeis Center complaint against Stanford was filed in June and is currently being reviewed by the EEOC and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). It alleges that Stanford University’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) division has created and fostered a hostile and unwelcoming environment for Jews in its DEI program, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Lucas’ comments took place during a public webinar, hosted by the Brandeis Center, on ways to combat anti-Jewish discrimination and harassment in the workplace amid a nationwide surge of anti-Semitism. The purpose of the webinar was to increase awareness and make sure that if people are feeling discriminated against or harassed, they know how to report it. During the section devoted to educating the public about actions and behavior prohibited under Title VII, Lucas and EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling noted that, in addition to religion, anti-Semitism can involve discrimination, harassment or retaliation related to national origin, race, color or even genetic information. And they cited a number of specific examples of ways anti-Semitism is currently manifesting in the workplace including, telling Jewish employees that Jews are powerful members of society who contribute to systemic racism, characterizing all Jewish people as privileged based on assumptions about their race or color, circulating conspiracy theories about COVID-19 or vaccines that blame Jews, trivializing the Holocaust by comparing it to mask or vaccine mandates, placing a swastika on a desk of a Jewish employee or via a Zoom bombing, and disproportionate criticism of Israel or conflation of all Jews with Israel. The Commissioners also advised employers on best practices for preventing anti-Semitism and how to address it if it does occur.