As readers of this blog know, we often post about illegal workplace discrimination. And, for those familiar with courtroom dramas, they may think that all illegal workplace discrimination cases are resolved through elaborate and protracted litigation. However, this is not always the case, and most discrimination cases can be resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR refers to the ways that disputing parties can solve their dispute without going to the courts, thereby, avoiding the expense and time of litigation. The two most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration. And, while both can be done independently in California, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers their own mediation process.
What is EEOC mediation?
EEOC mediation is generally, the same as any other mediation, except it is facilitated by the EEOC, the federal agency that enforces federal workplace discrimination laws. In their informal process, an EEOC trained third-party mediator helps employees and employers resolve the discrimination charge. That mediator does not make any finding of fact or make a decision. Instead, they are simply there to get the parties to talk and find a mutually agreeable solution. And, the process can be initiated by either party, as long as the other party also consents. In fact, the EEOC will usually offer mediation at the beginning of the discrimination complaint process.
EEOC mediation is a confidential process for Santa Monica, California, residents and all other participants. Anything revealed in the process cannot be used by either party, which is why it is usually started as early as possible. If the parties wait until much later, both sides will often be so entrenched that mediation will likely not solve any issues.
The key benefits for both Los Angeles employees and employers is time. The EEOC investigation and fact determination process takes time. Then, the litigation process thereafter takes time, and whatever the result of that litigation is, the losing party can then appeal. After that appeal, the losing party can then appeal yet again. This means that discrimination litigation can last years, if not decades, if the case is bounced back and forth between lower and higher courts on various challenges and appeals.
For the Southern California employer, avoiding this litigation has obvious benefits, it saves a lot of money. Even better, not only is EEOC mediation highly successful, disputes are usually resolved without the need for money.