When business owners receive an inquiry from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that claims workplace discrimination, they are immediately concerned. First, they are concerned about routing out any discriminatory behavior in their workplace, if any. But, second, as prudent Florida business owners, they want to solve this employment dispute as quickly and cos-effectively as possible. Luckily, the EEOC has such an option.
As a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation is a commonly used process by many organizations and courts to solve disputes without the need for a protracted legal battle and investigative process. And the EEOC provides a mediation option for nearly all cases. In this ADR process, the traditional EEOC litigation and investigative process is bypassed.
The mediation process
EEOC mediation is informal, and it is conducted by an EEOC-trained mediator. They cannot make a finding of guilt or innocence, impose a settlement or even decide who is wrong or right. They simply act as dispute resolution facilitators by helping all the parties come to a mutually agreeable solution.
Some Miami, Florida, business owners worry that these EEOC mediators have a conflict of interest. However, they are independent, neutral third-parties. Their job is to facilitate a negotiated resolution to the discrimination charge. While they may be EEOC staff or contractors, they are separate from the investigative and judicial process. They have no stake, and they cannot participate in any other function of the EEOC.
How is the process started?
Usually, the EEOC will offer the process at the beginning stage. But, if it is not offered, either party can ask for it, and as long as the other party agrees, mediation will begin.
For both parties, it is effective as over 70% of cases settle. For the Miami, Florida, business, nearly 15% settle for nonmonetary awards, saving the business money. In addition, for both parties, mediation is much faster. Mediated cases routinely take around 3 months, while full EEOC cases can take 7 or 8 months just for the traditional investigative process. That does not even factor in any administrative or judicial proceedings thereafter, and those associated attorney and court costs.