Latest Agreement Between Commission and Corporate America Bolsters Trend
HOUSTON Ė The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Halliburton today jointly entered into a National Universal Agreement to Mediate (NUAM) to resolve workplace disputes informally through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation. The NUAM with the Houston-based energy services giant is the 91st such agreement between the EEOC and corporate America, bolstering a recent trend.
"We commend Halliburton for partnering with us and recognizing the many benefits of mediation to resolve workplace disputes in a mutually beneficial way," said Mike Fetzer, Director of the agencyís Dallas and Houston District Offices, who signed the NUAM on behalf of EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "Mediation often results in win-win outcomes by saving time and money and preserving employment relationships Ė all of which enhances organizational performance."
Weldon Mire, Halliburtonís Vice President for Human Resources, said, "Our goal is to resolve disagreements as quickly as possible. We view this agreement with the EEOC as a tool for helping us to meet that goal because when we deal with conflicts appropriately, we increase understanding among everyone included."
Under the terms of the NUAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the agency naming Halliburton as the employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOCís 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.
Expanding mediation is a key component of Chair Dominguezís Five-Point Plan to improve the EEOCís overall operational efficiency and effectiveness. In addition to the 91 universal mediation pacts with employers at the national level, EEOC district offices have entered into more than 770 local mediation agreements with large companies within their respective geographic jurisdictions.
The benefits of universal mediation agreements include eliminating the time between serving a charge and getting it to the appropriate employer contact, and facilitating the scheduling of the mediation sessions. A NUAM is flexible in that it allows both the EEOC and employers 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 voluntariness.
Since 1999, when EEOCís National Mediation Program was launched, the Commission has mediated more than 72,000 cases with nearly 70% being successfully resolved in an average time of 85 days - nearly half the time it takes to resolve a charge through the investigative process. Additionally, EEOCís experience over the years has shown that 13-20% of mediated cases are resolved based solely on a non-monetary benefit. A comprehensive survey conducted by independent researchers showed that 91% of charging parties and 96% of employers would use EEOCís mediation program again if a charge were filed - irrespective of issues, bases, size of employer, or whether the charge were resolved or not. The study concluded that the parties saw the EEOCís process as fair, neutral and efficient.
Halliburton, founded in 1919, is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries. The company serves its customers with a broad range of products and services through its Energy Services Group and KBR. The company's World Wide Web site can be accessed at www.halliburton.com.
The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing the nationís anti-discrimination laws in the workplace based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, retaliation, age and disability. Further information about the EEOCís mediation program is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.