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PRESS RELEASE
8-14-03

EEOC and Kimble Glass, Inc. Enter Into National Agreement to Mediate Employment Disputes

Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced a national agreement with Kimble Glass, Inc. to submit all appropriate charges of employment discrimination filed with the EEOC against the company to voluntary mediation-based Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This marks the tenth National Universal Agreement to Mediate (NUAM) that EEOC has recently entered into with a large employer attempting to informally resolve workplace disputes prior to an agency investigation or litigation.

Kimble Glass, based in Vineland, New Jersey, manufacturers a variety of glass tubing and related glassware and employs approximately 1,250 people in the United States with operations in North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey. The company, founded in the early 1900s, also has facilities in Mexico and is a wholly owned entity of Gerresheimer Glas of Germany.

"We commend Kimble Glass for working with us in partnership to reach this important National Universal Agreement to Mediate," said Commission Chair 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. Employers have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by fully taking advantage of EEOC mediation."

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 10 NUAMs, EEOC district offices have entered into nearly 300 mediation agreements with employers at the local and regional levels within their respective jurisdictions.

Kimble Vice President & HR Director Richard Hasenauer remarked that, "Kimble, like many employers, recognizes the benefit of resolving conflicts cooperatively whenever possible. Although our record in EEO matters is very good and the need for mediation may not be frequent, it is our belief that signing a universal agreement makes a statement of commitment to the process of problem resolution in employment matters and it is the right way to initially proceed in addressing such matters."

Under the terms of the NUAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the Commission naming Kimble Glass, 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 expedite a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation. The benefits of universal mediation agreements include:

  • Shortens or eliminates the initial step of contacting the employer to see if they will mediate a particular charge;
  • Establishes points of contact for the employer, thus expediting the flow of information between the EEOC and the company;
  • Fast tracks the information through established contact points which facilitates the scheduling of the mediation session;
  • Demonstrates at the outset a company's willingness to mediate on cases eligible for mediation this may contribute to the ultimate satisfactory resolution of the matter; and
  • Provides for flexible agreements that allow parties to opt out of mediation on a case-by-case basis if either believes the claim is not appropriate thus protecting a key component of the program: voluntariness.

Under the EEOC's National Mediation Program, the largest ADR employment program of its kind, EEOC offices have conducted more than 44,000 mediations, resolving over 30,000 charges within an average processing time of 86 days since 1999. In Fiscal Year 2002, the average processing time to mediate a charge dropped to 82 days. Moreover, a recent comprehensive study conducted by a independent consortium of college and university professors with ADR expertise found that over 91% of charging parties and 96% of employers that have participated in EEOC mediation would use the program again if they were a party to a future charge. Additional information about the EEOC's National Mediation Program is available online at http://www.eeoc.gov/mediate/index.html.

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. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.