Giselle Klapper was promoted to Deputy Legal Director of the Sikh Coalition in May 2023; previously, she joined the organization as a Legal Fellow in October 2017, was hired full time as a Staff Attorney in December 2017, and was promoted to Senior Staff Attorney in May 2020. In this role, she provides expert legal assistance to Sikhs who have been discriminated against on the basis of their Sikh identity or beliefs, including in hate crime, school bullying, profiling, and workplace discrimination cases.
As Senior Staff Attorney, Giselle leads the Sikh Coalition’s work to combat employment discrimination in the U.S. military; she is the primary attorney on our current landmark case against the U.S. Marine Corps, and represented the organization in multiple media interviews, including two exclusive New York Times pieces, on the case. She also led high impact litigation on two bias-based school bullying cases, which were successfully settled in 2019 and 2021, respectively. In addition to this work, Giselle represents clients on a variety of civil rights issues, including securing accommodations for Sikh articles of faith, advocating on behalf of hate crime victims to ensure law enforcement adequately understands and addresses anti-Sikh bias, and challenging discriminatory practices in private and public sector employment.
Prior to joining the Sikh Coalition, Giselle worked as an Associate at the Law Firm of Tina Foster, where she focused on civil rights and international human rights issues. Previously, she worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kosovo, working on the human rights issues raised by the controversial Law on Amnesty as part of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Giselle also worked at Human Rights Watch in Belgium on the case against former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre for his regime’s crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture.
Giselle earned her Bachelor of Laws and a Master’s Degree in International Law from the Sorbonne Law School in France. She holds an LL.M. from Cornell Law School, where she received a full academic scholarship. She is French and American, and is admitted to the New York bar. Outside of work, Giselle practices ballet.