March 31, 2017

Cohen Milstein's Kalpana Kotagal will co-present the session “Women, the Industry & the Law” with Gillian Thomas of the ACLU. Together, they will provide an overview of prior efforts to address discrimination against women in Hollywood, and the current prospects for reform.  The session will include a primer on federal and state law, as well as discussion of possible tools for effecting change—including litigation, government tax credits for diverse hiring, media outreach, and other organized action. 

Thomas and Kotagal will explain the origins of the ACLU’s  2015 letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calling for a federal investigation into discrimination against women directors, the current status of that effort, and potential outcomes. By setting the stage as to possible legal remedies for discrimination, Thomas and Kotagal will provide a frame for brainstorming the most effective advocacy strategies during the breakout discussions, as well as the Summit’s ultimate “white paper.”

Ms. Kotagal is a Partner at the firm and Chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee. A member of the firm’s Civil Rights and Employment Group, Ms. Kotagal has represented victims of discrimination in the workplace and in other settings. A noted speaker, Ms. Kotagal often is called on to address topics such as gender and race discrimination, impediments to achieving greater numbers of women and people of color in leadership roles, class actions and class arbitration, and public interest career paths.