Nine Fair Employment Practices Agencies to Mediate Private Sector Charges for EEOC
WASHINGTON - Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced the launch of a new mediation pilot program with nine state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs). Under the new pilot initiative, part of the EEOC's continuing expansion of voluntary mediation, FEPAs will mediate private sector charge filings with EEOC on a contract basis in Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and South Carolina. EEOC maintains contractual relationships and worksharing agreements with over 90 FEPAs nationwide to process discrimination charges filed against private employers or state and local governments.
Noting that the expansion of mediation is the centerpiece of her Five-Point Plan to improve the EEOC's operational efficiency and effectiveness, Chair Dominguez said: "By all accounts, our National Mediation Program has proved highly successful in processing charges faster, better and cheaper in a non-adversarial fashion. We want to build upon this record of success with our FEPA partners."
Like private contractors who provide mediation services for the EEOC's private sector mediation program, the FEPAs participating in the pilot will use facilitative mediation in an effort to resolve charges. Under the pilot program, district offices will send appropriate charges to the participating FEPAs for mediation. If the charge is resolved, the FEPA mediator will help the parties draft a settlement agreement. The charge will then be returned to the EEOC for closure under routine procedures. If the charge is not resolved during mediation, the charge will be returned to the EEOC for investigation.
EEOC district offices whose geographic jurisdictions cover the selected FEPAs will monitor and document their mediation performance. The nine participating FEPAs are:
Chair Dominguez added: "This pilot program strengthens our partnership with FEPAs and builds upon our mutual goal of eradicating discrimination in the workplaces of America."
The launch of the FEPA Mediation Pilot follows the recent implementation of a "Referral Back" Mediation Pilot for private employers, in which discrimination charges filed with the EEOC will be referred back to a participating employer's internal dispute resolution program, as appropriate. Both pilots stem from the overwhelming success of the EEOC's National Mediation Program, the largest Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program of its kind.
Under the EEOC's National Mediation Program, first implemented agency-wide in 1999, EEOC has conducted more han 44,000 mediations, resolving over 29,000 charges and obtaining over $400 million in benefits for aggrieved individuals - all within an average processing time of 86 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.
EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission and its mediation programs is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on April 24, 2003.
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