First Universal Mediation Agreement Between EEOC and State Government Bolsters National Trend
SANTA FE, N.M. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the State of New Mexico today announced the signing of a Regional Universal Agreement to Mediate to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The new partnership marks the first time the EEOC has entered into a universal mediation agreement with a state government.
“We commend the State of New Mexico for joining hundreds of private employers who have signed on to the EEOC’s highly successful mediation program, the largest employment ADR program of its kind,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “We hope this landmark agreement with the State of New Mexico serves as a model for similar mediation partnerships with other state governments.”
Expanding mediation is a key component of the EEOC’s efforts to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. The EEOC has entered into 177 national and regional Universal Agreements to Mediate (UAMs) with private sector employers, including several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, agency district offices have entered into approximately 1,275 mediation agreements with employers at the local levels within their respective jurisdictions. Under the EEOC’s National Mediation Program, more than 110,000 charges of employment discrimination have been mediated with about 70% being successfully resolved in an average time of 97 days – less than half the time it takes to resolve a charge through an administrative investigation.
“We’ve already seen great success using Alternative Dispute Resolution here in New Mexico,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “By expanding its use and making it the path of first choice, we’ll continue to better serve the residents of New Mexico by making dispute resolution more efficient and cost-effective.”
EEOC Phoenix District Director Chester V. Bailey said, “Employers are increasingly recognizing the many benefits of the EEOC’s voluntary mediation program. It is fair, non-adversarial, expeditious, confidential and cost-effective. Resolving employment discrimination complaints quickly and fairly is beneficial to both the employer and employee. Mediation is a win-win for both sides and brings closure to the issues in a satisfactory manner.”
Under the terms of the Regional Universal Agreement to Mediate, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC naming any department of the State of New Mexico as the employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOC’s mediation unit, as appropriate. The state will designate a representative to handle all inquiries and other logistical matters in order to facilitate a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov. Information specific to the EEOC’s mediation program can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/mediate/index.html.
This page was last modified on October 31, 2008.
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