Mediation is way for the parties to resolve their conflict.  The Commission staff is trained in mediation and all parties are encouraged to consider this avenue in order to bring about a positive resolution to the charge of discrimination.  Mediation typically takes place at the beginning of the investigation, but is offered throughout.  Mediation is always voluntary.

What you can expect from mediation

A Commission staff member will act as a neutral third party to help facilitate discussions between the complaining party and the responding party.  These discussions usually occur at the Commission office at a day and time that is convenient for all participants. 

The parties are asked to be reasonable and respectful during these discussions.  The goal of mediation is work out a resolution to the problem that the employee was or is having at the workplace.  Resolutions can come in many forms and can involve things like a job transfer, back pay, flexible schedules, EEO training for the workplace or managers, and other things.

The benefits of mediating
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that the parties can work together towards a resolution.  The Commission staff is there to assist in this process and to help the parties communicate with one another.

Mediation can offer the employer a chance to find out about real issues in their workplace.  This knowledge can help them to better their business in the future and to possibly avoid future problems.

Mediation can save both of the parties time and money.  Investigations can take time away from the employer's regular business activities and the employee's regular life activities. 

What if the mediation is not successful?

The case is transferred back to a new investigator and the investigation resumes.  Both the parties and the mediator are all asked to keep whatever was discussed during mediation confidential.  The new investigator will not have knowledge of the issues discussed or how the parties came to the impasse, only that the mediation has failed.

If the parties wish to resume negotiation discussions during the investigation, the investigator or the original mediator may facilitate this as well.