The following are some comments from EEOC (Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) about how mediation works and what its benefits are:
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 or other representation 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 EEOC Mediation
* Free. Mediation is available at no cost to the parties.
* Fair and neutral. Parties have an equal say in the process and decide settlement terms, not the mediator. There is no determination of guilt or innocence in the process.
* Saves time and money. Mediation usually occurs early in the charging process, and many mediations are completed in one meeting. Legal or other representation is optional but not required.
* Confidential. All parties sign an agreement of confidentiality. Information disclosed during mediation will not be revealed to anyone, including other EEOC investigative or legal staff.
* Fosters cooperation. Mediation fosters a problem-solving approach to complaints and workplace disruptions are reduced. With litigation, even if the charge is dismissed by EEOC, the underlying problems may remain, affecting others in the workforce and human resources staff.
* Improves communications. Mediation provides a neutral and confidential setting where both parties can openly discuss their views on the underlying dispute.
* Helps you discover issues in your workplace. Parties share information, which can lead to a better understanding of issues affecting the workplace.
* You design your own solution. A neutral third party assists the parties in reaching a voluntary, mutually beneficial resolution. Mediation can resolve all issues important to the parties, not just the underlying legal dispute.
* Everyone wins. An independent survey showed 96% of all respondents and 91% of all charging parties who used mediation would use it again if offered.