OFCCP Week in Review: June 2022 | Direct Employers Association


Wednesday, June 1, 2022: Survey Finds… Participants Prefer Online Mediation for EEOC Charge Resolution

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announcement the publication of five independent studies of the Office’s mediation programme.

E. Patrick McDermott, professor of legal and management studies and department head at Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, and his colleague Ruth I. Obar analyzed 1,234 online surveys of participants and 139 surveys of mediators to supplement the studies. Of the participant surveys, 782 were from employers and employer representatives, and 452 were from accusing parties and representatives of accusing parties. The researchers compared the results with a external evaluation 2000 the EEOC’s mediation program and responses to EEOC-administered investigations of June 2018 and July 2019.

“In 2000, we reported that the EEOC had “hit a home run” in its in-person mediation program. Twenty years later, with no manual on transitioning from in-person mediation to online dispute resolution (ODR), there is a similar outcome with even greater significance,” McDermott said. “These data from the ODR Program suggest to the dispute resolution community and the American legal system that new and flexible online mediation procedures are viewed by all parties and representatives as efficient, flexible, economical, attractive and preferable to traditional in-person procedures. mediation.”

The participant study also revealed that online mediation significantly improves access to justice for accusing parties. About one in five billing parties do not want to be in the same physical location as their employer, and the virtual format provides “a safe space” for these participants. It also offers employers greater flexibility, making them more likely to participate in mediation. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of employers said the availability of online mediation made them more attractive to participate in the EEOC’s mediation program.

EEOC Mediation Program Studies

1. An evaluation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mediation program examined the program from the perspective of accusing parties and respondents and their satisfaction with the EEOC mediation process. The survey of parties who participated in the program found the process to be fair and neutral, with 96% of respondents and 91% of accusers indicating that they would use the mediation process again if given the opportunity. even if the results of the mediation were different from what they had expected.

2. The EEOC Mediation Program: Mediators’ Perspectives on Parties, Processes, and Outcomes. This report presents mediators’ comments on the dynamics of the mediation process, including the conduct that facilitates the resolution of the dispute:

  • why the dispute has not been resolved,
  • mediation tactics,
  • behavior that hinders a resolution,
  • the role of legal counsel and other representatives, and
  • the turning point(s) of a successful mediation.

The report also focuses on mediators’ suggestions for improving processes and the perception that accusing parties can benefit from legal representation. The EEOC has provided mediator training on “Equalizing the Opportunity” and continues to explore partnerships with qualified outside entities, such as the American Bar Association and local bar associations, to provide pro bono representation to parties. accusers and employers.

3. An investigation into the reasons for the lack of employer participation in the EEOC’s mediation program. The survey found that most employers are knowledgeable about the EEOC’s mediation program, but chose not to use it because they conducted an internal investigation and believe the specific charge is unfounded. basis or have concluded that the EEOC will not issue a finding of reasonable cause. The report concludes that the perceived quality of the charges and not the perceived quality of the mediation program determines whether the employer will arbitrate the charge.

4. EEOC Mediation Participants’ Experience of Online Mediation and Comparison to In-Person Mediation. This study found that 98% of employers and 92% of accusing parties would participate in the EEOC’s mediation program again. Most participants (nearly 70%) said they would prefer online mediation to in-person mediation in the future. Participants cited flexibility, convenience, cost savings and a “safe space” as reasons for choosing online mediation.

5. Perception of remote mediation by EEOC mediators and comparison with in-person mediation. This study shows that EEOC mediators found that online mediation is:

  • easier to use and more flexible than in-person mediation;
  • achieves similar or better quality and value of settlements for both parties; and
  • better access to justice for the accused.

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