Employment law is complicated. But, employment law litigation that involves the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be resolved much quicker than other litigation matters through the EEOC Mediation Program.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The EEOC Mediation Program is a confidential and voluntary ADR process, wherein an independent, third-party mediator attempts to reconcile the differences between the parties to find a mutually agreeable resolution to the discrimination charge. Mediators can be from within the EEOC itself or external contractors, but in either event, they are completely independent from the EEOC’s litigation and investigation functions. Indeed, the entire mediation process is 100% separate, confidential and nothing discussed therein can be used outside that process. And, mediation can be initiated by either party at any time, as long as both parties agree.
Does it work?
The EEOC Mediation Program is incredibly successful. On average, it only takes about three to four hours, and it has over a 70% success rate. And, in nearly 15% of those settlements, no monetary benefit was part of the settlement agreement.
What about perceived meritless charges?
Some employers believe that the program is useless because the charge has no merit, but this is actually a reason to utilize the process. The program provides a neutral and confidential space for both parties to openly discuss their disagreement to find solutions to the underlying dispute. The mediator can help facilitate enhanced communication to quickly resolve disputes.
Why use the program?
For our Portland, Oregon, readers, they may wonder why they should use the EEOC Mediation Program, and it is true that it may not be right for every case. Indeed, both the employee and employer should consult with their attorneys before entering the process. But, for those cases that can and should be mediated, both parties may find that it is a much easier, cheaper and quicker process than going through traditional employment law litigation.