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Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Over 90% of Employers and Employees Who Used EEOC Mediation Would Do So Again

WASHINGTON - The overwhelming majority of employers and charging parties participating in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) National Mediation Program find it to be highly effective, express strong satisfaction with the process, and are willing to participate again if party to a discrimination charge, according to a comprehensive report issued today. The independent report was prepared by a consortium of professors from Maryland colleges and universities who are experts in alternative dispute resolution, survey research, business, and employment law.

"EEOC is pleased by the report's findings touting the high degree of participant satisfaction with our mediation program," said Commission Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "The results illustrate the program's fairness and efficiency as well as significant results for both charging parties and employers. Resolving disputes to everyone's satisfaction in less than 100 days spells out a win-win situation for all involved."

According to the report, entitled An Evaluation of the EEOC Mediation Program, nine out of 10 participants (96% of employers and 91% of charging parties) indicated that they would be willing to participate in EEOC's mediation program again if they were a party to an EEOC charge, regardless of the outcome of their mediation session. However, only 31% of employers initially accept mediation when faced with an EEOC charge. The full text of the report will be posted on EEOC's Web site at shortly after issuance.

"We are hopeful that the employer community will get the message that mediation is in their best interest and more readily opt to take part in the program," added Ms. Castro. "The results of this survey are strong evidence that EEOC's mediation process is fair, neutral, and makes good business sense by resolving charge filings expeditiously, effectively, and efficiently."

The report includes a history of the evolution of EEOC's mediation program and a review of the theoretical and empirical studies previously conducted which involve mediation. The survey and sampling size reported represents one of the largest and most in-depth studies of mediation programs ever conducted.

"In all my years of experience in the field of employment law, I have never come across a program that enjoys such a high level of participant satisfaction as the EEOC mediation program," said Dr. E. Patrick McDermott, the primary researcher of the study and a professor of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury State University. "The fact that over 90% of the participants are willing to participate in the program again is a strong testimony to the credibility of the EEOC program."

Professor McDermott, a former Associate General Counsel for ABC News Inc. and former partner representing management in the Baltimore law firm of Weinberg-Green, co-authored the report with Dr. Ruth Obar and Dr. Anita Jose of Hood College and Dr. Mollie Bowers of the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore. Professor Obar, an economist, specializes in statistical data analysis and conducts economic impact studies. Professor Jose, director of the MBA program at Hood College, is a business strategist by training with considerable experience in survey research. Professor Bowers, a well known mediator and arbitrator, is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and past president of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

Among the report's main findings, based on analyses of EEOC mediation sessions conducted from March through July 2000, are:

  • The participants expressed strong satisfaction with EEOC's ability to communicate information regarding its mediation program prior to the actual mediation and also after the mediator's introduction at the session.
  • The vast majority of participants agreed that their mediation was scheduled promptly, indicative of the effective management of the program.
  • An overwhelming majority of the participants felt they had a full opportunity to present their views during the mediation session.
  • The participants expressed high satisfaction with the role and conduct of the mediators indicating that the mediators understood and helped to clarify their needs, and also assisted them in developing options for resolving the dispute.
  • The high level of satisfaction for the mediators performance was true for both EEOC staff mediators and for contract mediators.
  • The overall level of satisfaction with the program remained high regardless of such factors as the size of the employer, basis or issue alleged in the underlying charge, or whether the parties were represented during the session.

EEOC launched its voluntary mediation program in February 1999 and it became fully operational at every agency district office nationwide in April of that year. Since the implementation, the agency has resolved a cumulative total of over 11,600 private sector charges and obtained monetary benefits of over $150 million for charging parties through the mediation process. Thus far in Fiscal Year 2000, 65% of the cases that entered the mediation program were resolved in an average of 97 days -- less than half the time it takes to resolve a charge through EEOC's traditional administrative/investigative process.

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution offered by EEOC early in the process to facilitate resolution without lengthy investigations or litigation. The decision to mediate is completely voluntary for the charging party and the employer, and the mediation process is strictly confidential at every stage. Unlike an arbitrator or judge, the mediator does not resolve the charge or impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator serves as a neutral third party facilitator, helping the parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution.

This page was last modified on September 26, 2000.