38TH National Mediation Pact Between Federal Agency and Corporate America
ATLANTA - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Huddle House, Inc., a family dining chain, today announced the signing of a National Universal Agreement to Mediate (NUAM) to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation when a charge of discrimination is filed with the federal agency. Huddle House, based in Decatur, Ga., is a large restaurant franchiser with nearly 400 locations operating in 13 states.
The mediation partnership marks the 38th such national agreement between the EEOC and a large employer (mainly Fortune 500 companies) and bolsters a multi-year trend of Corporate America signing on to the Commission's widely acclaimed mediation program one of the largest employment-related ADR programs of its kind nationwide, with approximately 11,600 mediations conducted annually.
"We commend Huddle House for working with us in partnership to reach this agreement," said EEOC Atlanta District Office Director Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, who signed the pact on behalf of Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez.
"Mediation of workplace disputes is a win-win situation because it saves time and money, is non-adversarial, and often results in favorable outcomes for all parties involved," said Williams-Kimbrough. "Dozens of major companies can attest to the fact that employers have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by fully taking advantage of EEOC mediation."
Commenting on the agreement, Huddle House Vice President and General Counsel Claudia K. Levitas said, "Huddle House values its employees and is committed to providing a fair and efficient forum for resolving employment-related disputes. Huddle House is pleased to partner with the EEOC to offer this unique opportunity to all Huddle House associates."
She also noted that Huddle House is the recipient of this year's prestigious "Hot Concepts! Hot Again!" Award presented annually by Nation's Restaurant News. The award signifies that Huddle House is one of the nation's "hottest" restaurant chains with outstanding growth in sales and profits.
Under the terms of the NUAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the Commission naming Huddle House, Inc., as the employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOC's mediation unit, as appropriate. The company will designate a corporate representative to handle all inquiries and other logistical matters related to potential charges in order to facilitate a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation. Only company-owned facilities are covered by the NUAM.
Expanding mediation is a key component of Chair Dominguez's Five-Point Plan to improve the EEOC's overall operational efficiency and effectiveness. In addition to the 38 NUAMs, EEOC district offices have entered into approximately 550 mediation agreements with employers at the local and regional levels within their respective jurisdictions.
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government.