Cancellation changes EEOC’s recent announcement that the Mediation Pilot will be extended until September 30, 2021
On January 27, 2021, the EEOC announced the conclusion of the conciliation and mediation pilot programs that were originally set to last six month. The agency determined that the mediation program has been a success with over 240,000 mediations, resolving over 170,000 charges and obtaining over $3 billion in benefits for aggrieved parties. Based on the preference of many pilot participants, the mediation program will incorporate the use of video technology to hold virtual mediations wherever possible. EEOC will continue to send electronic surveys to program participants and incorporate any feedback on how to improve virtual mediations.
On January 26th, we reported that EEOC was extending the mediation program until September 30, 2021.
Another instance where a “new broom sweeps clean”. Three weeks after announcing an extension of the pilot programs through September 30, 2021, the EEOC, with a new Chair, has changed its mind and cancelled the pilots. While mediation has been available since 1999, the pilot mediation program expanded the variety of charges eligible for mediation as well as the timing—any time through an investigation, instead of just at the beginning. The pilot also added use of “virtual” mediation (which will be retained).
Similarly, while conciliation is required by Title VII, the pilot program added a requirement that conciliation offers be reviewed by the “appropriate” level of management before being shared with respondents. Since no one but the EEOC knew what that meant, termination of this pilot should have little impact. Mediation and conciliation have been highly successful, and will continue as before.