Seth Harris

Seth Harris

Seth D. Harris (born October 12, 1962) is the 11th United States Deputy Secretary of Labor. Nominated by Barack Obama in February 2009, Harris was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in May 2009. He has been described as Labor Secretary Hilda Solis's "right-hand man." Harris is also a member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation's Board of Directors.

Early life and education

Harris was born and raised Jewish. Harris earned a BS from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1983 and was a member of the Quill and Dagger society. He later obtained a J.D. from New York University School of Law where he was editor-in-chief of the Review of Law & Social Change and a member of the Order of the Coif. Harris was a law clerk to Chief Judge Gene Carter of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and Judge William C. Canby, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Prior Labor Department service

Harris served as Counselor to the Secretary and in other Labor Department policymaking roles for seven years advising both President Clinton’s first-term Labor Secretary Robert Reich and second-term Secretary Alexis Herman on legal, policy and management issues.

Academic career

For nine years prior to joining the Obama Administration, Harris was a Professor of Law and Director of Labor & Employment Law Programs at New York Law School. Harris’s scholarship focused on the economics of labor and employment law, with a particular emphasis on the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has also written about the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, worker organizing, and employment discrimination laws in general.

Harris served as a Senior Fellow of the Life Without Limits Project of the United Cerebral Palsy Association and a member of Georgetown University Law School’s Workplace Flexibility 2010 National Advisory Commission

Obama connections

Harris served as a member of the Agency Review Working Group of the Obama-Biden Transition Team with responsibility for the federal government’s transportation, labor, and education agencies. Harris also chaired Obama for America’s Labor, Employment and Workplace Policy Committee and Disability Policy Committee. He had served as a member of the Clinton-Gore Transition Team in 1992 and 1993.

Family

Harris is married to Karen Beth Rosen, a social worker and Jewish as well. His father is the late Dr. Jonathan Harris, a high school teacher and author of young adult non-fiction books. His mother is Martha Harris, a retired high school librarian. Harris’s brother is radio personality Paul Harris.

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