Six-month pilots to expand opportunities to parties to voluntarily resolve charges through mediation and increase the effectiveness of the conciliation process.
The Mediation Pilot is a voluntary, informal, and confidential way to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral mediator specifically trained to help individuals discuss their differences. The Access, Categories, Time (ACT) Mediation pilot began on July 6, 2020 and expands the categories of charges eligible for mediation, with or without an investigation. The pilot will also expand the use of technology to hold virtual mediations.
Since 1999, over 235,000 mediations have been conducted, resolving over 170,000 charges and obtaining over $2.85 billion in benefits for aggrieved individuals. The average processing time for remediation and resolution is 100 days. EEOC conducted a survey of workers and employers who had participated in the mediation program and they reported that they would use the program if they were a party to a future charge.
The six-month Conciliation pilot recommits EEOC to resolving charges through conciliation. The program "builds on a renewed commitment for full communication between the EEOC and the parties." The program also adds a requirement that conciliation offers must be approved by the appropriate level of management before they are shared with respondents.
"EEOC's popular mediation program has been tremendously successful over its 20-year history and the ACT Mediation pilot creates more opportunities to resolve charges throughout an investigation," said EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon. "Similarly, the change being piloted in the conciliation process ensures internal accountability and emphasizes resolving charges before resorting to litigation.