EEOC Goes Postal

April 1, 2002 ( - Under the US Postal Service (USPS)'s new dispute resolution initiative, virtually all requests for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearings on discrimination cases will first go through mediation.

The postal service’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) coordinators will schedule cases for mediation on receiving mediation orders from EEOC administrative judges.

USPS will provide an expert external mediator to facilitate discussions and assist the parties in resolving the dispute. This should be completed within 90 days of issuance of the order, according to a news release from the EEOC.

Reaching an agreement is strictly voluntary – mediator has no authority to mandate a resolution of the case.

The mediator will inform the EEOC administrative judge of the outcome within 10 days of the mediation. If a mediated resolution is not reached, an EEOC administrative judge will process the complaint in line with the federal sector regulations.

Cases that will be excluded from the program include:

  • class and systemic complaints
  • those involving Equal Pay Act claims
  • cases involving criminal conduct by the complainant.

In rare circumstances, EEOC administrative judges may determine that good cause exists for not requiring the parties to participate in mediation.

The program has already been phased into EEOC field office hearing units in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and parts of Texas. Full implementation at all EEOC field offices across the country is expected by early next year.

Once the program is fully implemented, approximately 3,500 complaints against USPS will be processed through the mediation program each year, according to EEOC estimates.