Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:42

Info: Mediation in the Workplace

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Mediation in the Workplace

How the EEOC mediation resolves employment problems.

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that is offered by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as an alternative to the traditional investigative or litigation process. Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third party assists the opposing parties to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution of a charge of discrimination. The decision to mediate is completely voluntary for the charging party and the employer. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the charge, clear up misunderstandings, determine the underlying interests or concerns, find areas of agreement and, ultimately, to incorporate those areas of agreements into resolutions. A mediator does not resolve the charge or impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable resolution. The mediation process is strictly confidential. Information disclosed during mediation will not be revealed to anyone, including other EEOC employees.

How Mediation Works

An EEOC representative will contact the employee and employer concerning their participation in the program. If both parties agree, a mediation session conducted by a trained and experienced mediator is scheduled. While it is not necessary to have an attorney in order to participate in EEOC's Mediation Program, either party may choose to do so. It is important that persons attending the mediation session have the authority to resolve the dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful, the charge is investigated like any other charge.

Advantages of Mediation

Mediation is an efficient process that saves time and money. Successful mediation avoids a time consuming investigation and achieves a prompt resolution of the charge. The majority of mediations are completed in one session, which usually lasts for one to five hours.

Mediation is fair. Mediators are neutral third parties who have no interest in the outcome. Their role is to help the parties resolve the charge.

Mediation is a confidential process. The sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed. Notes taken during the mediation are discarded.

Settlement agreements secured during mediation do not constitute an admission by the employer of any violation of laws enforced by the EEOC.

Mediation avoids lengthy and unnecessary litigation.

For additional information about the mediation program at EEOC, you may contact EEOC's web page at http://www.eeoc.gov or the EEOC field office nearest you by calling our toll free numbers 1-800-669-4000 (Voice) or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY).
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