EEOC Expands Mediation Program

April 25, 2003 ( - Civil rights boards in nine states are joining the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)'s voluntary mediation program to settle private-sector discrimination charges.

>Under a pilot program, the agency’s district offices will send appropriate charges to the participating Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) for mediation. If both sides can hammer out an agreement, the FEPA mediator will help the parties draft a settlement agreement, which is then returned to the EEOC for closure under routine procedures. If the parties are unable to settle, the case goes back to the EEOC for investigation, the agency said in an announcement. Local EEOC officials will monitor and document the FEPAs’ mediation performance.

>The latest agencies to join the EEOC program on a contract basis include:

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  • The Alaska Commission for Human Rights
  • The City of New York Commission on Human Rights
  • The Florida Commission on Human Rights
  • The Indiana Civil Rights Commission
  • The Iowa Civil Rights Commission
  • The Kansas City Human Relations Department
  • The Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • The New Mexico Department of Labor
  • The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.

>The launch of the FEPA Mediation Pilot follows the recent implementation of a “Referral Back” Mediation Pilot for private employers, in which discrimination charges filed with the EEOC will be sent back to a participating employer’s internal dispute resolution program, as appropriate.

>Under the EEOC’s National Mediation Program, first implemented in 1999, EEOC has conducted more than 44,000 mediations, resolving over 29,000 charges and obtaining over $400 million in benefits with an average processing time of 86 days. In total, EEOC maintains contractual relationships and worksharing agreements with over 90 FEPAs nationwide to process discrimination charges filed against private employers or state and local governments.