Staffer becomes fourth person to hold the position
Joyce Willoughby has been appointed as the new inspector general of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) effective March 13, 2023. The EEOC announced the appointment citing Willoughby's extensive experience within the agency.
Willoughby, the fourth person to hold the position, has been with the EEOC since August 1984, where she served a total of nine years in the agency’s Office of Federal Operations. She also worked as a general attorney for three years and as a supervisory general attorney in the Appeals Division for six years.
In March 1993, Willoughby joined the EEOC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and served as counsel to the inspector general for 16 years. From January 2010 to July 2022, she served as the acting deputy inspector general and has been serving as the acting inspector general since July 2022.
Before joining the EEOC, Willoughby was a general attorney in the Office of Appeals Counsel at the Merit Systems Protection Board. She has received numerous awards for outstanding performance from the EEOC and the former Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Willoughby is also a long-term member of the Association of Inspectors General and has frequently represented the EEOC at activities of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).
Willoughby earned a B.A. in urban and metropolitan studies from Michigan State University and a juris doctor from Howard University School of Law. She is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and the American University Key Leadership Program.
EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows praised Willoughby, saying, “Joyce Willoughby brings to this important role unquestionable integrity and deep experience within both the EEOC and the inspector general community. Her leadership and commitment to excellence will serve the institution well.”
Willoughby, in turn, expressed her plans as inspector general, stating, “As inspector general, I plan to work strategically with the EEOC senior leadership to assist in the identification of innovative approaches and methods to help enhance the agency’s program and operational effectiveness and efficiency. Through our audit, evaluation, and investigative work, our office will assist the EEOC in achieving its mission to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace.”
The U.S. Congress established an OIG at the EEOC through the 1988 amendment of the Inspector General Act (IG Act) of 1978.
The OIG supports the Agency by carrying out its mandate to independently and objectively conduct and supervise audits, evaluations, inspections, and investigations; prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; and promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency in programs and operations.
The OIG reviews pending legislation and regulation and keeps the EEOC’s chair and the U.S. Congress informed about Agency issues, recommends corrective action(s), and monitors the EEOC’s progress in implementing such action.
The EEOC OIG is under the leadership of the Inspector General, who provides overall direction, coordination, and supervision to staff.
In the EEOC, a designated Federal entity, the Commission Chair appoints the Inspector General and acts under the general supervision of the agency head. The IG has a dual role since they also report directly to Congress.
The EEOC cannot prevent or prohibit the OIG from conducting an audit or investigation. The OIG includes a deputy inspector general, auditors, evaluator, investigators, information technology specialist, independent counsel, and administrative staff.