For North Carolina employees and employers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and dispute resolution process may be a new experience.
It is entirely separate from an individual’s employment lawsuit, but it can operate like one eventually.
However, what is often not utilized is the EEOC Mediation Program, but there are benefits to both parties.
EEOC Mediation Program
The EEOC Mediation Program is a confidential and free process available to all complaints filed with the EEOC. Either party can ask for it, but both parties must agree to participate.
Once both parties agree, an independent mediator is appointed. This mediator is trained by the EEOC, but they do not work for the EEOC nor either party to the case.
Their job is to understand and hear both sides and work to facilitate a mutually agreeable settlement.
This can look like whatever it needs to look like for both parties. However, the mediator does not make findings of fact, force settlements or do an investigation. Instead, their entire job is just to find a resolution.
For both parties, the mediation process is a time saver. Litigation can last years, even decades with all of the appeals. And, that is after the entire EEOC process, which itself can take a year or two.
The EEOC Mediation Program commonly takes a few yours, and you can get your resolution right there and then.
Another benefit is that the parties get to decide their own resolution in a confidential space without the input or force of a judge. This can allow the parties to work creatively and find resolution.
Not for everyone
Nonetheless, while the EEOC Mediation Program can be a boon for the vast majority of cases before the EEOC, it is not for everyone.
You should discuss your case and the mediation process with your attorney before walking in. And, if you want to use the program, both parties can bring their attorneys.