William R. Tamayo has been a civil rights attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area for 43 years. Most recently he served as the District Director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2015-2021) overseeing investigations and operations in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. During his tenure as the EEOC Regional Attorney (1995-2015) directing the EEOC’s litigation program, his team filed over 300 lawsuits and obtained over $300 million for victims of discrimination including many women and immigrant workers. His office’s groundbreaking work for farmworkers who were sexually harassed is featured in the Frontline documentary, “Rape in the Fields.”
From 1979 – 1995 he was a staff attorney and the Managing Attorney for the Asian Law Caucus, Inc. of San Francisco where he emphasized the practice of immigration and nationality law (political asylum, deportation defense, exclusion, family petitioning, citizenship) and civil rights litigation and advocacy involving employment discrimination, immigrant rights, voting rights, and the Census. He was co-counsel for the plaintiff-intervenor in EEOC and Castrejon v. Tortilleria La Major, 785 F. Supp. 585 (E.D. Cal 1991) (first post-Immigration Reform and Control Act decision holding that undocumented workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Bill co-led the legal team that developed the “self-petitioning provisions” for battered immigrant women under the Violence Against Women Act through which over 140,000 women in addition to their children have been able to leave abusive relationships and gain legal permanent immigration status.
Bill has received awards from several organizations including, inter alia, the American Bar Association, California Rural Legal Assistance, La Raza Lawyers Association, National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Minority Bar Coalition, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Farmworker Justice, Midwest Association of Farmworker Organizations, Asian Pacific Fund and the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California. He has been a trainer on EEO-related topics for, inter alia, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, the fair employment practices agencies of Hawaii, California, Florida, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, Society of Human Resources Management, National Employment Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, anti-trafficking coalitions, and numerous sexual assault and domestic violence prevention organizations nationwide.
Bill is the son of immigrants from the Philippines. An avid cyclist and musician, Bill plays keyboards with the Coolerators (civil rights lawyers) and the Recusals (federal judges band).