As an employer, receiving a discrimination charge from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be scary and demoralizing. But, there are ways of resolving that charge much easier as there are several voluntary processes that can save money, effort and, most importantly, time.
In recent years, the EEOC has expanded their voluntary mediation program. It is now a confidential and free process that is often much quicker than protracted litigation. Plus, if mediation is successful, the EEOC will not even begin an investigation, saving one’s business a lot of time participating in that investigation. If unsuccessful though, the charge will be investigation. And, of course, one’s attorney can be part of this process as well.
The mediation process
The mediation process begins prior to the investigation and be completed in as little as one session. These sessions usually only last for one to five hours, but the average mediation processing timeline is 84 days. The mediators themselves are neutral third-parties that maintain confidentiality, and the process is designed to be informal. The goal is not fact finding, but, instead, to reach a satisfactory solution for all parties. And, the majority of participants (both employers and employees) were satisfied by the mediation process.
These sessions are not transcribed nor recorded in any way, and if the mediator takes notes, they are discarded. All information that is learned during the process cannot even be used in a subsequent EEOC investigation. Settlement agreements are not admissions of guilt by the company either, but they are enforceable.
For Lexington, Kentucky, employers defending against employment law claims, the EEOC mediation program can be an easier avenue to solve the employee’s issues. But, more importantly, if can also help identify issues that an employer may not be aware of and give them the time they need to fix it.