When a person files an EEOC charge, the first step in the process — usually several months after the charge is filed — is for the EEOC to contact the claimant and the employer to see if both sides are willing to go to mediation to try to resolve their dispute before the EEOC commits its resources to investigating the allegations. Generally, a third party, called a mediator, works with both parties at the EEOC, often for several hours, to try to reach a resolution.
During the mediation, each side will present its view of the issue, and the mediator will work with each side in separate rooms to attempt to work out a settlement. At the end of the process, the parties either reach an agreement or they don’t, in which case the EEOC will send the case to the investigation stage. The mediation process, unlike arbitration, is non-binding; that is, the mediator does not impose a decision on the parties, but he/she attempts to present a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
At the Law Office of Andrew M. Dansicker, we represent claimants in mediations involving employment discrimination and sexual harassment every few weeks before the EEOC and have had great success in managing the complex process of mediation with exceptional results. In fact, we have settled approximately 80% of the mediations that we have handled for claimants. First, we discuss your case with you and review your documentation so that we can determine the strength and potential value of your case. Second, we prepare you for the mediation, as you will frequently be required to present your story to the opposing party. Finally, we negotiate for you in an effort to obtain the best possible results.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle a mediation on your own. The employer will likely be represented by experienced counsel, and unless you know how to value your case and negotiate with opposing counsel, you are likely to walk away frustrated.