EEOC Implements Changes to Temporary Mediation Program
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced the launch of a pilot program. The goal is to alter certain aspects of its existing mediation program. The new program includes the expansion of types of worker bias allegations that can be dealt with through the mediation process.
The previous program provided an opportunity for the civil rights agency to use mediation to settle disputes that arose related to a limited number of discrimination claims. It was done to avoid these cases having to be settled via litigation. The updated pilot program will extend the allegations that would be eligible for resolution via mediation. The new program also allows additional technology to be used in the process, so mediation can be held virtually if need be if or if parties prefer.
This program differs from the current investigative and litigation process because the mediator lacks the authority to make a ruling. Instead, control of the process and the resolution remains in the hands of the parties involved. The mediator does not say if anyone was right or wrong but facilitates negotiations to help those involved come to a mutually beneficial conclusion.
Not everyone is on board with the program. Charlotte Burrows, Democratic Commissioner of the EEOC, says that allowing more charges to be resolved in mediation is a “grave injustice and a violation of the EEOC’s responsibility to enforce the law.” Burrows is also claiming that there is no authority to implement the program unilaterally and that the policy contradicts the formal vote.