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Charles E. James, Sr.

Departmental Office of Civil Rights
Office of the Secretary, U. S. Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590

Charles James PictureDirector Charles E. James, Sr. comes to this position following many personal and professional experiences that uniquely prepare him for the scope of this position. He participated in the first wave of Virginia public school integration following the historic U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown decision.

Most recently, he served as Deputy Secretary of Administration under Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Among other things, James oversaw Virginia’s minority and disadvantaged business certification operations and the utilization of a disparity study. Additionally, he oversaw both the Virginia Human Rights agency and the Department of Human Resources Management, as well as the Virginia Department of Elections.

Prior to that, for nearly eight years, Director James led the U. S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a position to which he was appointed in 2001 by then Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao.  OFCCP is charged with enforcement of a set of laws that form a framework of affirmative action and protections for both applicants and employees whose employers are covered federal contractors. The scope of coverage included affirmative action plans for hiring and promotion, pay equity, protection of veterans hiring rights and rights for individuals with disabilities.

During his tenure, Director James focused on making compliance easier by means of compliance assistance – and recognizing those contractors whose affirmative action programs were worthy of recognition for outstanding results and suitable as models for duplication. He also deployed a more strategic use of investigatory resources which produced record findings of discrimination and navigated the contractors’ transition from paper application forms to electronic application records in order to continue to perform compliance reviews.

Director James has served as an appointee of three Virginia governors following a nearly twenty-year career in private industry.

James graduated from King College, now University, with a Bachelor’s degree in English.  He makes his home in Richmond, Virginia with his wife, Kay Coles James.

Last updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2020