Littler Mendelson's Phyllis Cheng to Serve as Director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Former Of Counsel to Protect the Interests of California Employees and Employers

San Francisco, CA/ Jan. 25, 2008 -- Littler Mendelson, the nation's largest labor and employment law firm representing management, is pleased to announce that Phyllis Cheng, of counsel to the firm, has been appointed as director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I am honored Governor Schwarzenegger has asked me to serve as the director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing," said Cheng. "While I am excited to begin a new chapter in my career, I will miss my colleagues and friends at Littler Mendelson. Working for the firm has been a wonderful experience. I will always be grateful for the opportunities and learning experiences provided to me at Littler."

Cheng has extensive experience in all facets of appellate, trial court and administrative practices. She was formerly Senior Appellate Court Attorney to the Honorable Laurie D. Zelon, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, where she drafted numerous decisions on all areas of the law. Cheng was also a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice, Civil Rights Enforcement Section, where she represented state agencies and prosecuted violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act, Ralph Act, unfair competition, constitutional violations and other civil rights statutes. She further litigated employment discrimination matters and practiced criminal appeals in private practice. As a two-term Commissioner and Vice Chair of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, Cheng ruled on some 80 Fair Employment and Housing Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act, and Ralph Act matters. In addition, she has been a certified arbitrator, mediator, settlement officer, and judge pro tem.

Before becoming a lawyer, Cheng had 12 years of public policy, research and administration experience as: Title IX coordinator and director of a women's commission at the Los Angeles Unified School District; researcher at the RAND Corporation and the University of Southern California; adjunct faculty at the UCLA Graduate School of Education; U.S. Fellow Consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Oslo, Norway; delegation member with the California State Board of Education to study education in China; and panelist on KNBC-TV's Emmy-winning program, Free 4 All.

"We are absolutely thrilled with Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to appoint Phyllis as the director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing," said Robert Blumberg, managing shareholder for Littler's Los Angeles office. "Littler's loss is the State of California's gain. I can't imagine anyone better suited to serve and protect the interests of employees and employers in California."

Cheng earned a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in 1993, a Ph.D. from University of Southern California in 1987, a M.Ed. from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1976, and a B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1974.

About the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the largest state civil rights agency in the country. It was established by the Legislature in 1959 as the Division of Fair Employment Practices and was initially part of the Department of Industrial Relations. In 1980, DFEH was established as an independent department charged with enforcing California's comprehensive employment, housing, public accommodations and public service non-discrimination laws, as well as the State's bias-related hate violence law.

DFEH's statutory mandate is to protect the people of California from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations pursuant to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. DFEH has jurisdiction over both private and public entities operating within the State of California, including corporate entities, private sector contracts granted by the State of California, and all State departments and local governments.

DFEH receives and investigates discrimination complaints in its twelve district offices throughout the State. Ten offices handle employment, public accommodations and hate violence cases and two offices handle housing cases. In addition, there are three legal offices which litigate cases and provide legal support to the district offices.

DFEH routinely provides technical assistance to employers, business establishments and housing providers regarding their responsibilities under the law.

About Littler Mendelson

With nearly 700 attorneys and 44 offices in major metropolitan areas nationwide, Littler Mendelson is the largest law firm in the United States devoted exclusively to representing management in employment, employee benefits and labor law matters. The firm's client base ranges from Fortune 500 companies to small-business owners. Established in 1942, the firm has litigated, mediated and negotiated some of the most influential cases and labor contracts in the nation's history. For more information, visit