(WASHINGTON, DC) – On February 8, 2023, the DC Council confirmed Hnin Khaing as the Director of the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR). She was appointed by Mayor Bowser on October 28, 2022. With her confirmation, she becomes the first Asian American Director in OHR’s history.
Director Khaing is a near native Washingtonian who emigrated from Myanmar (Burma) as a child and has called the District her home since the late 1980s. She had been serving as the Interim Director at OHR since October 1, 2021, and is a seasoned civil rights attorney with over fifteen years of civil rights experience. Her professional experience in human rights dates back to law school, when she worked on anti-discrimination cases as a summer associate and advanced voting rights and affirmative action during her time as a law clerk at the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Upon graduation from law school, Director Khaing immediately joined a civil rights litigation firm, representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases under laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to name a few. Later, through her fellowship with the National Employment Lawyers Association, she worked to protect workers from age discrimination and to give victims a voice through the removal of arbitration clauses from employment agreements.
In addition to her deep understanding of human rights laws, she also has significant experience serving District residents. Prior to her executive role, Director Khaing most recently served as OHR’s General Counsel where among other things, she vigorously pursued protection of public interest by prosecuting probable cause cases before the Commission on Human Rights. Director Khaing started her career at the agency in 2015 and within a year of her arrival, she developed and led the launch of the District’s first-ever EEO Training and Certification program for EEO Counselors and Officers. She has trained hundreds of individuals through this program, and today, this program is open to all District government employees.
Director Khaing is passionate about connecting with the community and educating the public. She has spoken at several community events on topics like age discrimination, hair discrimination, gender identity discrimination, ban the box, fair housing laws and workplace fairness. She is also a repeat faculty for D.C. Bar’s Continuing Learning Education (CLE) program, where she updates attorneys on employment laws in the District.
“I am so humbled and honored to have this opportunity to serve the residents and visitors of DC in my new capacity as director and safeguarding their civil rights through fair enforcement of local and federal laws,” said Director Hnin Khaing. “I want to thank Mayor Muriel Bowser for appointing me and I am excited about the years ahead to lead this vital District agency to new heights in the future.”
Director Khaing is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park, and earned her Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law. When she is not working, she enjoys walking her rescue dog, baking, running in local races, and learning new languages.