The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
When you file a complaint with the EEOC, your case is investigated. As part of your investigation, the EEOC may ask you to participate in EEOC Mediation in order to resolve the complaint you filed against your Employer.
How does EEOC Mediation work?
The procedure of Mediation is fairly simple. Both parties will sign a Mediation Agreement and Confidentiality Agreement at the beginning of the conference. The purpose of the Mediation and Confidentiality Agreements are so that both parties understand the terms of the Mediation and understand that anything discussed during Mediation will be kept confidential. The Mediator will then begin by explaining his/her role in the Mediation process.
Next, each party will make opening statements explaining their side. This is the time to make the opposing party understand your issues and positions as to why you believe you were discriminated against. These opening statements are not meant to prove who is right or wrong. The statements just explain each party’s position.
Following opening statements, each party will be separated into a private room. The Mediator will meet privately with each party. Anything that is said in private with the Mediator will be kept confidential. The Mediator cannot reveal anything to the other side unless you expressly give him/her the power to do so. Each party will state their demands to the Mediator and he/she will communicate those demands to the opposing party. Both parties will continue to negotiate until a settlement is reached.
If a settlement is reached, each party will draft a Settlement Agreement stipulating the terms that were agreed upon.
It is important to remember that Mediation can last all day so make sure your schedule is cleared for the entire day.
What are the benefits of doing EEOC Mediation?
There are many advantages of engaging in EEOC Mediation to resolve your case. Here are some of the advantages:
• Mediation is free with no costs to either party • Mediation is fair and neutral because each party has an equal say in the process and the settlement terms • Mediation could result in a fast resolution of your case • Anything discussed during Mediation is confidential • Engaging in Mediation avoids a lengthy litigation that can be costly and timely to all parties • Mediation improves communications between both parties so a resolution can be reached • EEOC Mediation has a high success rate of resolving disputes