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  Director of the Division on Civil Rights  
Director's Photo Craig Sashihara
  Craig Sashihara was appointed to lead the DCR in November 2011. During his tenure, DCR has initiated over 3,000 new investigations, recovered over $11 mil. in settlements for New Jersey residents, and issued more findings of probable cause on average than at any time in the preceding two decades. Examples of the range of initiatives Sashihara has overseen include:
  • Racial Tauntinghigh school sports. In an initiative that garnered national attention, DCR persuaded the governing body of high school athletics to expand its definition of “unsportsmanlike behavior” to include taunts and harassment based on race and other protected characteristics, and to amend its sportsmanship rule so that sanctions are enforced against offending schools, players, and spectators. A New York Post editorial noted, “This is a home run, touchdown, goal and 3-point basket rolled into one. High school sports just got a lot more civilized in New Jersey. It’s about time. New York officials should take a long look at what the Garden State is doing.”

  • Disability discriminationchildren. After finding that a vocational school’s admissions office discriminated against applicants with individualized education plans (IEPs), DCR persuaded the school district to overhaul its admission practices and implement a “disability-blind” procedure that prevents applicants with IEPs from being screened out in the selection process. As a result, the acceptance rate of students with IEPs rose from 20% to 45%.

  • Gender discriminationnon-traditional roles. After finding that a contractor repeatedly passed over a female licensed master plumber in favor of less qualified males, DCR persuaded the contractor to keep specific records of its efforts to reach targeted hiring goals for women; provide mandatory training on its new policy to all project managers, foremen, and hiring personnel; pay $400,000 to the State and female plumber; and undertake an aggressive joint effort with the local union to encourage female students in vocational high schools to pursue careers in the trade.

  • Pregnancy discrimination – mortgage lending. After finding that a national bank declined to refinance a woman’s mortgage after learning that she was pregnant, the agency negotiated a settlement in which the bank agreed to pay damages to the woman and State, and provide training on discrimination, fair housing, and credit laws to all loan officers licensed to originate loans in New Jersey, and all who directly support and/or supervise those loan officers.
  • Disability discrimination - service animal. DCR persuaded a chain of convenience stores to pay damages to a military veteran who was asked to leave a store because he had a service dog. More importantly, to comply with the settlement, the chain trained over 7,000 employees in over 300 stores about service animals and other disability issues, posted signs in all of its stores announcing that service animals are welcome, and is providing training to all new hires. The Gloucester County Times Editorial Board wrote, “State agencies can be responsive. It doesn’t happen often enough, but the investigation and settlement of this case within just about a month gives us hope.”

  • Gender Identity or Expressionchildren. DCR persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to apologize and pay damages to a young New Jersey child who was excluded from the Cub Scouts based on his gender identity or expression, and to formally adopt and implement admission policies that make abundantly clear that he and other transgender youth are welcome into the organization.

Sashihara began his career as a deputy attorney general for the State of New Jersey handling matters ranging from superfund litigation to election law in state and federal courts. He left the public sector to work at two prominent New Jersey law firms where he litigated commercial and insurance coverage cases. In 2003, he returned to the Attorney General’s Office and has served in a number of leadership roles under successive administrations. Sashihara received a B.S. from Boston University’s College of Communication and his J.D. from Villanova University, where he was a member of Law Review. He has two children, whom he describes as “kinder, more clever, and all-around better” than he.

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