Efficient And Effective Business Litigation

What is the EEOC’s mediation process?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Employment Law |

Most employers and employees are familiar with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as they are the federal agency charged with ensuring our nation’s employment antidiscrimination laws are followed. However, their Alternative Dispute Resolution program is not as well known.

Mediation

The ADR process that the EEOC utilizes is mediation. EEOC mediation is an alternative to the traditional EEOC litigation and investigation process. While the process is informal, it is guided by an independent, EEOC-trained mediator. They are empowered to help the parties (both employer and aggrieved employee) negotiate a resolution to the discrimination charges. A key here is that the mediator does not decide right or wrong, and they have no power to force or impose a settlement. Instead, they simply help the parties reach an amicable solution.

Not mandatory

Mediation is not required, and the process is entirely voluntary. If either party wants to opt out, then the EEOC will investigate the discrimination charge, just like any other charge.

When does the process begin?

Generally, mediation is offered at the beginning of the process before the discrimination investigation begins. This is because mediation saves the EEOC resources, and negotiations are usually only possible prior to an investigation. However, mediation is still available during the investigation or even during the conciliation process, after discrimination has found. All that must happen is for one party to request it, and the other party to accept.

Confidentiality

Even if unsuccessful, the mediation process is confidential. Everyone involved in the mediation process, including the mediator, must sign confidentially agreements. These agreements mandate that anything discussed or revealed within the process cannot be disclosed. This is also why mediation sessions are not transcribed or recorded. Indeed, even notes taken during the mediation must be destroyed.

Why does it matter?

Bluntly, for our Huntington Beach, California, readers, time and money are why mediation matters. For employees, getting to litigation, winning and then waiting for appeals to finalize can take years, meaning compensation is similarly delayed. For employers, that same time means eating up company resources for years.